A pensioner and his pet dog were mauled by two loose Staffordshire bull terriers in a prolonged and terrifying attack.
The dog walker, believed to be a local man aged 74, was attacked and repeatedly bitten by the two animals in an alleyway between Market Street and Kettering Road, in Northampton.
Eyewitness say they heard screams of terror from the victim, who is understood to have bent down to pick up his dog after the bull terriers tried to attack his pet at around 8.30am.
He then fell over, allowing the two animals to set upon him as he lay defenceless, clutching his own dog, which neighbours described as "small dog" and a breed of terrier.
Terrified passers-by tried to stop the attack, which went on for around 10 minutes, by poking the two dogs with sticks and even offering them cat food.
One eye witness said she heard the man's screams while she was in her garden.
She said: "I heard a man screaming for help. I went round the corner and I saw him laying on the floor on his back holding his dog and the two terriers were just biting at his dog and at him.
"He was just screaming 'get them off, get them off'. They had their teeth in the dog and in the man and they just weren't going to let go.
"The noise was frightening, it really was. It went on for about 10 minutes. They were just mauling him."
Eventually the two dogs, one male and one female, called off their attack and sat peacefully next to their victim "as if nothing had happened" until the police arrived.
The victim was then taken to Northampton General Hospital for treatment to wounds to his hands, while his pet dog was taken to a vet for treatment.
The two Staffordshire bull terriers were collected and taken to a nearby dog centre.
Another eyewitness, who asked not to be named, said: "You don't let a dog like that out on its own. I just hope the poor victim gets some justice."
Yesterday afternoon a police spokesman revealed a 26-year-old man had been arrested on suspicion of allowing them to be loose in a public place.
The spokesman said: "Police were called just after 8.30am after the dogs attacked a man who was out walking his dog.
"The dogs initially attacked the man's dog and as he bent down to pick the dog up, he lost his balance, at which point the two dogs attacked him.
"The 74-year-old man has been taken to Northampton General Hospital with non life-threatening injuries, and his dog has been taken to the PDSA surgery. The two Staffordshire bull terriers are being taken to Forest Lodge Kennels."
Witnesses to the attack, or anyone with information, can call Northamptonshire Police on 03000 111 222.
Alternatively, ring Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.
Pensioner mauled in vicious attack