A visually-impaired man is devastated after his much-loved guide dog was hit and killed by a car as it tried to escape a pack of vicious dogs.
Andrew Close's seeing dog, Matilda, has been his constant companion for three years.But yesterday the black Labrador was confronted by a pack of dogs, thought to be pit bull terriers, who chased her onto a busy road and into the path of an oncoming car.
Andrew said: "I'm very upset. I took her everywhere. I took her inter-state...to Queensland and Sydney.
"She was a happy and playful dog. Matilda loved to go to the football, loved eating...now she can't do it anymore."
Andrew's brother, Allan, was walking Matilda and the family's pet cocker spaniel, Bosley, when they were attacked by a pack of four off-leash dogs in Plunkett street, in Bellfield.
Allan, 25, said one of the dog's jaws clamped down on his terrified cocker spaniel and refused to let go.
"They came out of nowhere," Alan told Seven News reporter Anastasia Salamastrakis
"I heard a guy calling for the dogs to come back. But one came at us, sniffed my dog, then bit him. Then another two dogs went for Matilda."
Guide dogs are trained to stay put, but Allan says Matilda was so scared he lost grip of her lead.
She fled the attack and was chased by two of the dogs onto nearby Bell Street where she was hit and killed by a car.
"She was in panic mode and I lost grip of her," Alan said.
Allan, who was bitten as he tried to end the attack, is convinced the dogs were a pack of pit bulls.
"They were small and muscular dogs, with big mouths," he said.
Allan said the dogs' owner helped to stop the mauling, but he and another man then fled the scene, abandoning Allan and badly-injured Bosley.
"I'm angry that people allow these dogs out. It's unbelievable, I can't put words to it," he said.
Bosley underwent surgery last night for his injuries, and is expected to make a full recovery.
Allan was also taken to hospital where he was treated for cuts and grazes.
He says his pain is nothing compared to the distress felt by his brother following the death of his guide dog.
"Matilda was my brother's eyes," Alan said.
"He takes him to the football. He takes him everywhere. When he goes on holiday he goes on the plane," Allan said.
The RSPCA seized the dogs after an extensive search.
Banyule Council says the dogs were registered to a local property.
The dogs' breed and fate is yet to be determined, but the Close brothers agree they shouldn't be spared.
"The dogs should be put down. That could have been anyone. That could have been my brother," Allan said.
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