A FAMILY are devastated after their tiny yorkshire terrier dog was mauled to death by a rottweiler.

The rottweiler put his jaws around two-and-a-half-year old Tilly while she was walking with her family to the beach at West Mersea.

Owner Richard Neal wrestled her free and hurried her to the nearest vet, but she died within minutes of arriving.

Mr Neal said he and his nine-year-old son, whom he did not want to be named, were still horrified by what happened.

He said: “It’s breaking me up. To be there and to lose a pet in such a horrific way. No child should see that.”

The incident happened when Mr Neal, his son, Tilly and their three-year-old springer spaniel, Daisy, were walking towards the beach down Cross Lane on Wednesday, April 27, at about 6pm.

They saw a woman in her thirties with the rottweiler and a light chocolate brown labrador on leads and a girl of about ten pushing a pram.

The girl approached Tilly and started petting her. She was followed by the labrador and then the rottweiler.

Mr Neal said: “Because the girl was so friendly towards Tilly and the labrador was so friendly, I didn’t expect the rottweiler to suddenly attack.

“I would say within five seconds, it was over. Tilly was dying as soon as it get hold of her. Nothing could be done.

“She was just being the friendly lovable little thing. She had never seen any aggression in her life, so she had no idea what would happen.”

Mr Neal has put up posters around the island to see if anyone saw what happened or knows the owner.

He said she may have been staying at one of the holiday parks on the island or a beach hut, or was visiting for the day Rottweilers are not one of the breeds which have to be muzzled under the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991.

The act also covers dogs that are “dangerously out of control”, but it is not clear if the rottweiler, which was on a lead, would fall under this category.

PCSO Adam Ryder said until the owner is tracked down, it is not clear what action can be taken.

He said: “Until we speak to the person who owns the offending animal, we can’t decide what action we can take.

“We obviously take it seriously because the family were very shocked and upset about it. The dog was part of the family.”

Anyone with information can call PCSO Ryder on 07966 197265.