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A distraught dog owner cradled her beloved pet as it died in her arms after being stabbed 23 times in a brutal attack.

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American bulldog Tyson had been scrapping with another pet dog in a secluded walkway between Belsize and Hampstead on Friday when he was set upon by a man wielding five knives.

After the fighting dogs were separated, the enraged owner of the other pet left the scene in Woodland Walk only to return moments later with two 10inch knives and three other blades.

In a flurry of savage swipes the man is alleged to have knifed Tyson 23 times as the animal cowered blood-soaked in owner Daisy Jenkins’ arms.

A blood-stained knife recovered from the scene was bent at a right angle, apparently by the force of the attack.

The heartbroken mother-of-three, 41, whose hip was cut during the frenzy, said: “We were just clinging together right up against the fence trying to keep away from the knives.

“I could feel bleeding but I just held him tightly. I thought if I pretended to be dead he would leave us alone.

“After that I just kept saying to Tyson: ‘Hang on, please hang on. Pull through’.

“I really thought he was going to. He was the best dog ever.”

Witness Allison Havey was on her way home from a meeting in central London when she saw a crowd of people running from the scene.

The freelance photographer, from Agincourt Road in Hampstead, said: “She (Ms Jenkins) was covered in blood and hysterical.

“It was a blood bath, just terrible with this beautiful, sad woman covered in blood.

“She just said to me: ‘Please help.

“Help me make my dog live’.”

A vet was called to try to save Tyson, but the 42kg bulldog died on the footpath.

The vet, from the Village Vet in Belsize Terrace, said he had never seen such horrific injuries.

“There were a total of 23 stab wounds and there were enough deeply penetrating the abdomen – any of which could have hit a major vessel and killed him,” he said.

A 41-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of causing criminal damage and bailed to return to a police station at a later date.

A police spokeswoman said; “It is criminal damage as the dog is classed as property – there are other offences which it could come under but this is the most substantial crime.”

But Ms Jenkins has called for the law to be changed so that those who harm animals face tougher penalties.

“A dog or pet is part of your family, it’s not a commodity,” said Ms Jenkins, of Aspern Grove in Belsize Park.

“It’s not criminal damage, it’s murder.”

Ms Jenkins, who had owned Tyson for three years, has built a shrine in Woodland Walk, with a bunch of roses and a poem tied to the railings. In a message to her beloved pet she wrote: “Mr.T. You are my irreplaceable one and only true love xxxx”

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