A RIDER was left terrified when a pair of vicious dogs attacked her horse, ripping open its chest and leaving her with a £1,000 vet's bill.

The horrific incident happened on Sunday afternoon when Margaret Taylor, 63, of Cecil Street, Oswaldtwistle, took Felix, her part-thoroughbred, out in Accrington.

As Margaret was riding along Charter Street, two dogs suddenly appeared, ran at Felix and began to bite the terrified animal on the legs.

Margaret said: "They looked a bit like Staffordshire bull terriers but they weren't because they were bigger. Two lads appeared and shouted at them because they were both off their leads.

"We set off up Buxton Street and one of them came after us. It ripped Felix's chest open and punctured a vein in his ankle. His chest was just hanging down and I was frightened to death.

"There was blood everywhere, it was worse than an abbatoir. But I couldn't get off or the dog would have gone for me.

"One of the lads finally managed to grab the dog. He said he was sorry and then he just went."

Meanwhile, residents on Buxton Street were bringing Margaret towels in a bid to stem the bleeding and help her stricken horse.

Since the attack, all four of Felix's legs have been bandaged and he is receiving daily visits from the vet.

Margaret said: "Felix will live but he will be permanently scarred. Luckily, he is an experienced horse and he didn't bolt during the attack. My daughter Linda has a five-year-old horse and if it had happened to her, it would have just panicked and could have been killed."

A spokesman for the police confirmed that the attack had been reported and that officers were looking to prosecute the owners under the Dangerous Dogs Act.

Hyndburn's dog warden Steve Wood said: "I have been involved in this case but it is a police matter now. The dogs were dangerously out of control in a public place and will have to be dealt with.

"In this instance, they should be destroyed. Unfortunately, the owners of the dogs are being unco-operative and we think they have hidden them in another town so we are in the process of trying to get them back.

"Most people hand dogs over but these owners do not seem to think they come under the normal everyday law. When you go around they agree with everything you say and then five minutes later disregard it."