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 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 on Tuesday morning.

A devastated Mr Fry has now delivered dozens of leaflets to homes in the area warning dog owners to be on their guard and asking for information to find the offending animal.

He explained: “It all happened so quickly. I had just slipped Henry off his lead and the other dog came from nowhere and charged into him. 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. Henry was screaming all the time. 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. He was a lovely animal. If you laid down he would come and lay down next to you.

“The vets [Medivet, in St Albans Road] were brilliant with him but there was nothing they could do.”

Mr Fry and his wife Rita, whose home is still filled with dog toys and photos of Henry, said they had reluctantly decided not to take on another animal in the future.

Mrs Fry explained that her main focus in the coming weeks would be to catch the offending dog. She said: “I feel so strongly that this dog must be found because Henry could have been a child. That dog saw something moving and just went for it.

“It could have been a kid running after a ball. They could have been seriously injured.”

The couple, however, said they do not blame the mystery dog for what happened and have no desire for vengeance.

Mr Fry added: “I am a complete dog lover. I have no problem with any breed of dog.

“I look to their owners and what is on the other end of the lead. Sadly, dogs will always reflect their owners and it is the dog that always pays the penalty and not the owner.”