A man was killed by what police believe to be two American XL bully dogs as he tried to protect his elderly mother from the animals, which had got into her garden.
An eyewitness said that Ian Price, 52, ran out of his detached house in Stonnall, on the edge of Walsall in the West Midlands, after seeing that the dogs had got into the garden of the flat, which is opposite his, through a hedge.
The dogs, which allegedly belonged to a neighbour, launched what witnesses described as a “frenzied” attack on Mr Price, leaving him with “multiple life-threatening injuries”.
Paramedics and the air ambulance were called to the scene at 3.12pm on Thursday. He was taken to Birmingham’s Queen Elizabeth Hospital but later confirmed to have died.
Mr Price, who was married and ran a business in the Stonnall area, was a keen Aston Villa fan. A neighbour described him as a “lovely guy” and said he lived with his wife Heather, a classroom assistant.
St Peter’s Primary Academy, near the scene of the attack, went into lockdown during the incident.
Staffordshire Police said one of the dogs died after being restrained, and the other died after an injection was given by a vet.
A 30-year-old man from the Lichfield area was arrested on suspicion of having dogs dangerously out of control, and has since been further arrested on suspicion of manslaughter.
Staffordshire Police said several people helped to try to get the dogs off the man and contained one of the dogs outside. The other was contained within the owner’s flat.
The force said: “We prevented a number of schoolchildren leaving local primary school, St Peter’s Primary Academy, for safety reasons. The children have since been allowed to go home.”
One eyewitness, who saw what happened along with her husband, said: “It was so awful I can barely talk about it, but he was mauled to death and it was just horrendous. The dogs... got through the hedge behind the house and appeared in the elderly lady’s garden. Her son has gone out to protect her.
“We think the dogs were at home on their own because there were no cars outside at the time. Both dogs set on him. Neighbours came out to help, but many stood on this side of the fence because they were too frightened to get involved.
“One brave man got a big stick and was hitting the dogs and trying to get them off, but the dogs just took no notice. They were in a frenzy. It [went] on for 15 to 20 minutes.”
Villagers described how the dogs’ owner turned up in his van, along with his 18-month-old daughter as police vehicles responded to news of the attack.
Superintendent Tracy Meir said: “I would like to offer my condolences to the loved ones of the man who tragically lost his life in this horrendous dog attack. We are continuing to support them at this incredibly difficult time.
“Detectives continue to investigate. We have taken statements, viewed CCTV and carried out house-to-house enquiries in the local area but are keen to speak to anyone with information.”
A West Midlands Ambulance Service spokesman said: “Upon arrival, we found a man who had sustained multiple life-threatening injuries and was in a critical condition. Ambulance staff administered advanced life support and advanced trauma care to him at the scene.
“Treatment continued en route to Queen Elizabeth Hospital, where he was conveyed by land ambulance for further treatment. Unfortunately, after arrival at hospital, despite the best efforts it became clear that nothing more could be done to save him, and he was confirmed deceased.”