A SCHOOLBOY had to be rushed to hospital and undergo surgery after suffering injuries to his hand in a vicious dog attack.

Brave Connor Houghton, 13, of Steeplehall, Pitsea was left bloodied and severely injured after trying to protect his dog Onyx from a Staffordshire bull terrier and bullmastiff.

The two dogs charged towards the youngster and his pet in Northwick Park before the out-of-control Staffie latched onto Connor’s hand and would not let go until he kicked at it in desperation.

The owners then grabbed their two dogs and ran off.

Connor, who attends Langdon Hills Children’s Support Centre, was then rushed to Basildon Hospital, after a kind-hearted passerby helped dress his wounds and alert his mum to what had happened.

Mum Lisa Turnage, 36, said: “He was absolutely petrified. It really left him in such a state. When I got to him he was covered in blood and all of the tendons in his hand were exposed.

“Those owners were so irresponsible having their dog off the lead like that, particularly in a park where kids play. Our dog is a small Staffordshire and although we have never had any problems, I would never dream of having my dog off the lead.

“If you can’t handle your dog then you shouldn’t have one. I’m just grateful to the lady who helped him and that he wasn’t hurt even worse.”

Under the new guidelines owners, or anyone in charge of a dangerous dog, could face up to 18 months in jail, with the sentence rising to the legal maximum of two years if their animal attacks in public.

Connor was kept in hospital for two days after doctors were forced to operate on his hand due to the severity of the damage.

The incident is the latest in a string of attacks reported by the Echo across south Essex.

In September, a three-year-old girl was bitten on the arm and head after an out-of-control dog approached her while she was playing in the park in Somercotes, Laindon.