A POLEGLASS couple who witnessed their much-loved family pet being viciously mauled by a pit bull-type ‘devil dog’ said the crazed animal needs to be found and destroyed before it targets a child.

Adrian and Mary McAuley were speaking to the Andersonstown News after their mild-mannered border collie Shep was attacked outside their Laurelbank house as they returned home from a taking him on a late night walk around midnight.

The injuries sustained in the attack on the six-year-old collie were so severe that Shep  received three separate layers of stitching to horrific tissue-tear wounds down one side of his body during a day-long operation in the wake of the February 6 attack.

Shep’s now back home and recovering, but Adrian and Mary are calling on the owner of the dog to turn himself in and to take his animal off the streets.

“We had come back from a walk and left Shep on our front porch while I went and fetched a towel to dry him off,” said Adrian. “Then we heard this terrible screaming coming from the front.  We ran to the front door and saw this dog who had Shep by his back and was trying to tear him apart.  Shep was trying to hide under the car but it was no use.”

On spotting Mr and Mrs McAuley, the owner of the pit bull dragged his animal away.

“When he saw us he pulled his grey hood over his head and grabbed his dog by his back legs. He had the dog’s lead in his hand the whole time,” said Adrian, who described the out-of-control dog as being golden-coloured with a brown mark on its head.

“I couldn’t get a good look at him as I was trying to get my wife back into the house in case it turned on her.  I’m sure it would have killed her had I not brought her back into the house.  That dog was literally foaming at the mouth, you could see the venom in its eyes.”

Mary said their vet told them the family pet was “lucky to be alive”.

“He said it was one of the most terrible injuries he’s ever seen,” she said. “His big coat saved him.  He’s back home now but he’s nervous.  He’s getting better as the days go on.”

The local grandparents pleaded with the dog owner to hand his dog over to the proper authorities.

“That dog is a killer – it was its intension to kill Shep,” said Mary. “God forbid a child had been there as it could easily have turned on it. That dog needs to be off the streets.”