A dog walker watched in horror as his beloved pet was mauled to death in a Watford park.

Colin Fry, 70, was walking near the Watford Irish Club, in Oxhey Park, at about 5pm on Saturday afternoon when his dog, Henry, an award winning ten-year-old Irish Setter, was viciously attacked by a white Staffordshire Bull Terrier.

Henry, a former Crufts champion, suffered serious ligament damage in the attack and, despite the best efforts of vets, had to be put down this morning.

Mr Fry is now warning other dog owners to be on their guard in the area. He said: “It all happened so quickly. We were walking along when the other dog came from nowhere and charged into my dog. He went down like a pack of cards.

“He latched onto his shoulder with his teeth and wouldn’t let go. I was thumping the daylights out of him, trying to get him off but he wouldn’t move. It was terrible.”

Mr Fry, of Westfield Avenue, Watford, explained that a man walking the offending dog claimed he wasn’t the owner and appeared “genuinely apologetic” about what had happened but left no details of how he could be traced.

Police are now working to establish the dog’s true identity and, if necessary, have it destroyed.

Mr Fry added: “It is very upsetting. I’d had Henry since he was a puppy. He was a very gentle and peaceful dog. The vets were brilliant with him but there was nothing they could do.

“My worry is that this could happen to anybody. Even since it happened people have been telling me about similar attacks on their dogs by Staffordshire Bull Terriers.

“I’m a dog lover so I don’t blame the dogs themselves. They are just what their owners make them.”