The owner of two dogs that mauled a beagle to death has apologised over the incident and said he is ‘devastated’.
Paul Baxter, 35, spoke after Chester the dog was attacked in a playing field in Eccleston, Greater Manchester, on Wednesday.
A video showed Mr Baxter’s pitbulls, Deebo, four, and Loki, savagely attacking the beagle who died at the scene.
‘I’m absolutely devastated about what happened and that a couple have lost a dog that was a wedding present,’ Mr Baxter, from Winton, Ecclestone, said.
‘I’m sorry the dog died and for the owners. I’m sorry what the dog walker had to go through and what I’ve put my family through.
‘But my dogs have never acted like this before. They are good with other dogs, they are gentle with my three-year-old daughter.’
Jennifer Thornley, 29, who bought Chester as a wedding gift for her husband Gary Thornley, 28, had to watch helplessly as her pet was mauled after being allowed to run free.
The pitbulls have since been seized by police and the couple have called for them to be put down.
Mr Baxter, a joiner, had been criticised for his reaction but said the dogs were on leads and claimed he walked away at one point because he wanted them to follow.
He added: ‘The beagle came out of nowhere from behind and wasn’t on a lead.
‘He started trying to get their ball and they started biting him. I don’t know what set them off. I think at first Deebo might have been trying to protect Loki.
‘I tried for ages to separate them but then I got short of breath with asthma. I don’t like seeing dogs getting hurt – it was a horrible thing to witness. I’ve not trained them to be like that.’
Mr Baxter eventually did manage to get Deebo, a brown ridgeback-staff, and Loki, a white Bully Kutta, under control but it was too late.
He said he was so distressed when he got home he ‘curled on the floor fighting for breath and throwing up’.
He added he was covered in blood.
Mr Baxter, who had the dogs since they were puppies, does not expect to see them again even if they were not put down.
A decision on their fate could take six months.
Mrs Thornley chose not to respond to Mr Baxter’s comments.