A PET owner was bitten and her dog savaged after an attack in a South Tyneside street.
Two-year-old Willow suffered serious injuries to her stomach and neck after an Irish Staffordshire Bull Terrier sunk its teeth into her tiny body.
The dog then ran off with the family pet in its mouth as the terrified animal yelped in pain.
The attack – which the family say is being classed as a dog fight by police – happened outside J&S Stonehouse in Wood Terrace, Hebburn, at about 12.50pm last Thursday.
The family have now called on dog owners to ensure their pets are kept under control at all times.
Willow's owner, who didn't want to be named, said: "I have been left absolutely traumatised by it all. I keep getting flashbacks of seeing Willow in the dog's mouth.
"I think this serves as a reminder of what can happen, and I would call on dog owners to keep them under control.
"And if they are prone to outbursts, make sure they are muzzled when they are out in public."
Shop owner Gladys Stonehouse saw Willow, a chorkie – a cross between a Yorkshire Terrier and a Chihuahua – scooped up by the bull terrier and chased it – followed by Willow's owner.
The pensioner said: "We were shouting and the little dog was thrashing and hitting her head off the pavement as she tried to get out of the other dog's mouth.
"The owner came running out and grabbed their dog by the nose and it let go of Willow.
"The dog bit me on the hand and went for Willow again, this time picking her up by the neck."
The women carried on the battle to free Willow as people looked on, eventually wrestling her free.
Mrs Stonehouse said: "The owner was screaming 'She's dead, she's dead.' Her little body looked so lifeless.
"She took her into the shop and phoned the police, but the dog followed her in and was trying to get Willow out of her hands.
"She was kicking it away and was bitten on her leg. Eventually, I managed to get the dog out of the shop."
Police were called, but the family were left angered when officers classed the attack as a dog fight.
The dog's owner added: "An officer phoned and said they wouldn't be taking it further as it was a dog fight. But how can they say that when both myself and my aunt were bitten?"
Willow was eventually allowed home and is making a steady recovery.
A police spokesman said: Police were called to Wood Terrace, Jarrow, after reports of a disturbance. Police found an 86-year-old woman with a small bite to her hand after separating her dog from another.
"She was taken to South Tyneside Hospital for treatment, and has since been released. No criminal offences were committed and both dog owners were given suitable advice by officers."