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Last Updated: Monday, 22 January 2007, 07:24 GMT
Police shoot attacking 'pit bull'
Pitbull-type dog
It is understood the animal was a pit bull-type dog
Police have shot dead a dog in Belfast after it mauled a family pet in front of children.

Officers went to the Donegall Pass area after local people reported seeing the animal, believed to be a pit bull terrier, in Vernon Street on Sunday.

They arrived to find it attacking a small white dog and discharged a number of shots.

Officers are investigating reports that the animal also tried to attack children.

Peter Pollock, who lives in the area, saw what happened.

"I didn't have the nerve to go over and attack the dog to try and help the other dog. Had it been a child, I might have thought different.

"But the dog was there for seven and a half to 10 minutes, just tearing the other dog to bits. All the children were watching. It was scaring the kids - the state that the other dog was in."

Some local authorities in Northern Ireland have introduced amnesties on dangerous dogs.

Owners of pit bull terriers and other illegal dogs can hand them in without fear of prosecution for a limited period.

In January, the Ballymena council became the first in the UK to hold such an amnesty.

It followed a pit bull attack on a family in the county in November.

Sean and Deirdre Doherty, their son Ben and a family friend escaped with only minor injuries after an horrific attack by a pit bull-type dog in Randalstown Forest Park.

Their pet labrador, Troy, was killed in the attack.

One eye-witness describes what happened

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