A young boy savaged by a Japanese Akita dog said he feared his throat was going to be ripped out.
Caoimhin McFadden (12) was on his way to play in a park near his home in Londonderry when the dog leapt over his friend and sank its teeth into his arm, ripping the flesh and leaving him covered in bruises and bite marks.
The animal has since been seized by a Derry City Council dog warden.
Caoimhin said it was the most frightening experience of his life.
He is now recovering at home with his mother.
Speaking to the Belfast Telegraph from his home in the Galliagh area, the youngster said: “I was on my way to the park with my friend Conor, walking along an alley, and the dog was walking down towards us.
“Conor put his hand out to pet the dog and I did the same but it just started growling at me and the next thing I knew it jumped over Conor and sunk its teeth into my arm and was biting me.
“I pulled my arm out of its mouth and tried to punch it to make it stop but it was trying to bite me again. So I ran as fast as a could until I reached a metal fence at Glencar and climbed over it — but even when I was climbing up on the fence the dog was trying to eat my legs.
“I was really scared, I thought it was going to get me again and if it did I know it would've ripped my throat out.
“It kept jumping up at the fence but it couldn't get over.
“A woman from Glencar saw me and came over but she didn't think I was too bad until she looked at my arm. At the same time Conor had got to me too and he grabbed my phone and called my mammy.”
Caoimhin's mother Kelly said her son is lucky not to have been killed.
She said: “When Conor rang, at first I couldn't understand what he was saying but then I realised he was saying a dog had eaten Caoimhin and to come quick to Glencar. I didn't say another word, I grabbed my keys and ran out the door for the car.
“The woman who was with Caoimhin told me that he was badly bitten and must go straight to hospital. I was ||too scared to even look at his arm.
“I bundled him into the car and went to A&E and it was only when I was at the hospital that I saw for myself how bad he really was.
“The minute I looked at it, I just went into hysterics.’’
“I couldn't believe how badly his wee arm was bitten,” she added.
Kelly reported the attack to a police officer who rang the council dog warden the next morning.
She also went to the home of the people who she understood owned the dog but was told by a woman the dog had been passed on to someone else.
A spokeswoman from Derry City Council has confirmed that a Japanese Akita dog was involved in an alleged attack on a young boy in the city this week.
She said: “The dog involved was removed by a warden and is being held at a shelter whilst an investigation is under way.
“We can’t comment on an ongoing investigation due to the possibility of legal proceedings.”
The Akita is a large spitz breed of dog originating from the mountainous northern regions of Japan. Local history describe the ancestors of the Akita, the Matagi hunting dog, as one of the oldest of the native dogs.
Since it is a large, powerful dog, the Akita is not considered a breed for a first-time dog owner and has been targeted by some countries' breed-specific legislation as a dangerous dog.
Experts describe Akitas as sometimes spontaneous and in need of a firm, confident, consistent pack leader, without which the dog will be very willful and may become aggressive to other dogs and animals.