A Balga grandmother says it was instinct that led her to bite a rottweiler that was killing her pet dog.
Lynette Norman, 72, was walking her 14-year-old Jack Russell terrier Lady-day when they were attacked by two dogs in Celebration Park on Monday.
One of the dogs, which Mrs Norman identified as a rottweiler, knocked her over before lunging straight for Lady.
Horrified, she looked on as the dog flipped Lady over and began tearing her beloved pet apart.
"It had eyes like a shark, grey and dead," Mrs Norman said yesterday. "If I had been on my own with Lady, I'm sure it would have killed me."
Two men jumped from a passing car and tried to stop the attack. One stabbed at the rottweiler with Mrs Norman's umbrella.
Mrs Norman dived back into the fray after getting back on her feet.
After failing to wrench the dog's front legs apart, she bit down hard on its ear.
"I don't know if I got all the way through its ear but I had a mouthful of hair when I finished," Mrs Norman said.
"Being a coward, he couldn't stand the pain and took off."
Despite bites to her right hand, which later had 20 stitches, she rushed Lady straight to a nearby vet. But the damage inflicted was too great and Lady died.
Mrs Norman said she remembered the ear-biting from a nature documentary in which a she-wolf nipped her cubs on the ear to control their behaviour.
"I would have done the same thing for a child - it's what mothers do, we throw ourselves to try to save what we love," she said.
She returned to the park yesterday, laying a small cross and flowers in commemoration.
City of Stirling rangers are searching for the dogs that attacked Mrs Norman and her pet. Council community safety manager Laurie Crouch said rangers believed the dogs were unregistered.
"This is a terrible incident - a real tragedy for Mrs Norman," he said.
"We believe these dogs are owned by someone and we don't want this to happen again."
The dogs are likely to be destroyed if captured, with the owners facing fines of up to $10,000.