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Urgent appeal to track down owners of dogs after vicious attack on pet in popular Burnley park

Toby is at home recovering from injuries he sustained when another dog attacked him in Towneley Park, Burnley.
Toby is at home recovering from injuries he sustained when another dog attacked him in Towneley Park, Burnley.
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A dog owner, whose pet badly injured in a shocking attack in one of Burnley's most popular parks for dog walkers, has appealed for help to trace the owners.

Kurt Leeming's 13-year-old Jack Russell terrier, Toby, needed 20 stitches to a massive wound on his neck after the horrifying incident in Towneley Park when he was attacked by a Staffordshire Bull Terrier dog.

Kurt himself had to receive hospital treatment when he was bitten on the finger and leg while trying to defend his pet who he said "means the world" to himself and his wife, Emma,

And despite a fantastic response to an appeal on social media to trace the owners of the dog responsible for the attack the owners have still not been found.

Kurt, a teacher at Burnley's Ridgewood Community High School, said: "The response was absolutely amazing and the support for Toby's wellbeing astounding.

"Words cannot expense my gratitude.

"However despite our appeals and shares being in the hundreds, the owners and their dogs still remain out there."

Kurt wants to warn other dog walkers in Burnley to be aware of the potential danger of the dogs so that the attack does not happen again to another dog or worse still, a child.

The incident happened on Thursday, June 28th between 5-30pm and 6pm. Kurt had taken Toby for his usual walk and was looking forward to returning home to settle down with a cold beer to watch England play Belgium in the World Cup.

Kurt said: "I was on the woodland walk with Toby off the lead and I could hear two people shouting in a worried and frantic tone after their dogs.

"Two Staffordshire Bull Terriers, one brown and black from what I recall, came running towards us both off lead.

"One of them in particular made a beeline for me, the other was just pottering around on the path as was Toby.

"The one running towards me appeared friendly particularly towards me and I was able to get hold of this Staffie by the collar, which was a distinctive thick tan coloured leather collar."

Believing the situation was under control Kurt called to the couple that their dog was with him and as they approached he let go of the animal which then launched the attack on defenceless Toby.

Kurt added: " The ferocious attack seemed to last forever but in reality was probably less than two minutes at most.

"After 13 years of walking Toby up Towneley I had never once been caught in a situation like this.

"The female was unable to help and was screaming and shouting, the male I believed helped but it was all a bit of a blur but I was not prepared to let my dog's life be ended this way. "

Shocked and distressed Kurt managed to pick Toby up and while he cradled him in his arms he told the couple, who had put their dogs back on their lead, that he would need their details to report the incident.

Kurt said: "The woman became hysterical shouting 'no, no' and the man shouted at me that my dog wasn't going to die despite the fact blood was pouring from his neck and from my finger."

The couple ran off and Kurt managed to get to the car park at the front of Towneley Hall where he summoned the help of two park wardens and Emma who came down with a neighbour.

Kurt also spoke to another person who he had seen on the walk who expressed concerns about the same couple who he had seen earlier in the day struggling to control the dogs.

Toby was rushed to Oakmount Vets in Burnley where he was kept overnight.

Kurt said: "A week later and Toby is home, he's not quite himself but he appears to be healing quite well.

"He, like most dogs to owners, is more than a pet and he means the world to us.

"To see his injuries and be there first hand to witness the attack has been traumatic to say the very least.

"Toby is a wonderful, loving small dog, who never deserved this to happen to him."

The attack was reported to the police and officers are due to check CCTV in the area the couple and the dogs were spotted near to the Spar on Todmorden Road an hour before the attack.

Kurt said: "I would urge anyone who has any information to come forward so the couple can be brought to justice for this and the dogs hopefully re-homed and rehabilitated."

The couple are described as both being aged between 16 and 20 years old. The male was wearing a white t-shirt, black tracksuit bottoms and had dark hair.

The female had blonde hair and was wearing a white vest top and denim shorts or skirt.

If you witnessed this incident or have any information, please contact 101 quoting EF1809749 or log number LC-20180628-1411 or ring 01282 425001.