A FRUSTRATED family have urged dog owners to come forward after their pet viciously attacked a 14-year-old girl in a popular park.

Police have now released an e-fit of someone they want to speak to in connection with the incident, which left young Tiyah Shirley needing urgent surgery on her hand.

Tiyah was walking in Rushley Park, Burnt Mills Road, when a German shepherd ran towards them and started chasing her dog, Barney. As she picked up Barney to protect him, the German Shepherd bit her on the hand.

A woman and a man, who police want to speak to about the attack which happened on June 27 at 4.15pm, then quickly retrieved the dog and took it away.

Southend Standard:

Tiyah’s stepdad Lukas Volskis, said: “It was such a shock at the time, but what shocked us the most is that the owner sort of seemed to suggest it’s just what happens when you have a dog off the lead at the park – that’s not the case. It shouldn’t be happening.

“Luckily her wounds seem to be healing really well and there’s no nerve damage, but it could’ve been a lot worse. At first we didn’t think it was a big deal, but we realised quickly that actually it was more serious than we first thought.

“She was quite shaken up when it happened but she’s a tough cookie and is nearly back to her normal self again.”

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Unfortunately the family have still had no luck in tracking down the owners, who Lukas suspects may be hesitant to come forward from fear the dog will be put down.

The 30-year-old from Basildon, continued: “We have actually now been back to the park, we took Barney to the pond as he loves to swim in there and everything was fine. However I would warn other dog owners to be vigilant.

“I think maybe they’re worried the dog will be put down, but officers have said that unless it’s extremely serious this doesn’t always happen straight away, it could be there’s a fine first.

"Please come forward, we don’t want it happening to anyone else.”

An Essex Police spokesperson, said: “The man was described as white, about 6ft tall, and of medium build. He was aged in his early 30s and had short dark hair, tattoos, and wore a grey T-shirt.

“The woman was described as white, about 5ft 5ins tall and had shoulder length blonde hair with green tints.  She was of slim build, had tattoos, and wore a black vest and denim shorts.

“Please call 101 quoting reference 42/95020/20.”