A vicious attack on two pet dogs has prompted their owners to call for a change in the law so that vicious animals are put down rather than returned to their owners.
A couple, who do not want to be identified, say they were walking their pets - a small and a medium sized dog - when two large hunting-type dogs attacked their own smaller animals in a 15-minute ordeal of screaming and blood.
"They charged at us like kamikaze pilots," the husband said.
"They both set on our bigger dog, flipped him over on its back and tore him to shreds. They tore a hole the size of a tennis ball in his neck."
So great was the noise that people in nearby houses came out with garden stakes and metal bars and bashed the dogs until they backed off.
The husband tried kicking the attackers. "I couldn't walk for three days from kicking. My wife was screaming for help," he said.
The couple are now frightened because they've been told that the dogs will be returned to owner who lives near them. After the attack, they were taken to the city's Domestic Animal Services.
The owner of the canine victims feels the attack dogs should be put down. At the moment, the rule is "two strikes and you're out" but the victims' owners both feel it should be "one strike and you're out".
In the ACT Legislative Assembly, Liberal deputy leader Nicole Lawder agreed.
The opposition urban services spokeswoman said that a dog which commits a serious attack should be put down.
There would be exceptions if, for example, a dog bit a home intruder, but generally the rule should be "no second chance".
"It's not that we hate dogs," she said. "It's just that we want to prevent it happening again."
It was a political issue. "Dogs are being severely injured, but that's not enough for this government to act."
Of this latest attack, she said: "I am told it was the worst mauling the vet has seen."
"I am very pleased to hear that after hours in veterinary care, both the dog victims survived and that whilst in fear for their own safety at the time, the dogs' owners also escaped injury.
"However, I am outraged with the process that allows attacking dogs to be returned to their owner.
"Where is the government's expressed concern for public safety and for the protection of our pets?
"Why do the Greens continue to support the government in allowing pets to be injured, mauled, and attacked?"