Two Maryland residents Stephen Gorton, 64, and Pamela Williams, 70, say they are lucky to be alive after they used a walking stick to defend themselves against a pair of dogs that encircled them and 'attacked to kill' at their local park on Saturday afternoon.
In a scene Mr Gorton described as "horrific", he witnessed the dogs "rip apart" his "beloved" kelpie cross, Summer, at Bill Elliott Oval. The pair of "waist-high pig dogs" then turned on him.
"These two dogs had my dog by the throat and were dragging her across the paddock. I swang at them with a stick, and missed and fell over and then they came at me," Mr Gorton said.
"I got to my feet and they were growling and circling. I was fighting for my life ... I was calling for help and nobody heard me.
"If it wasn't for the stick I would have been dead too."
Ms Williams, who is "profoundly deaf", was walking Summer when the dogs made their first attack and bit Ms Williams on the hand.
Realising she could not protect the kelpie, who had slipped from her collar and escaped into a bushy embankment, Ms Williams "staggered" back to her house to seek help from Mr Gorton, her housemate, and phoned 000.
"I was almost passing out from shock," Ms Williams said. "I hit them [the dogs] both many times with the stick I carry but they had that kill instinct in their eyes and it made no difference. It kills me that I was not able to keep her [Summer] safe."
A spokesperson for the council said on Sunday that one of the alleged attacking dogs had been euthanised and another dog would remain impounded while council rangers undertook further investigations.
After Ms William's hospitalisation and the loss of Summer, the pair are calling for both dogs to be destroyed and for police to investigate the incident.
The pair described emergency services' response to the attack as inadequate. Ms Williams said she was disconnected from the 000 telephone operator, so she asked neighbours to make further calls.
"I have bilateral cochlear implants that do not allow for me to hear words very well on the phone so I told the telephonist that I was deaf and couldn't hear them," Ms Williams said.
"When I was still speaking I heard the hang-up beep sound. Stephen was actually fighting for his life at that time."
The dogs eventually fled after attempting to attack Mr Gorton for "ten or fifteen minutes". Mr Gorton said police and ambulance came to the house after he had returned home from the attack and made a subsequent call to 000.
"When the police arrived they told me they don't get involved and handed it over to the Newcastle council," Mr Gorton said. "After I was fighting for my life."
A spokeswoman for NSW Police said the two dogs had broken through a fence.
"The attacking dogs were secured and the matter has been referred to Newcastle City Council for investigation," she said.
The spokeswoman did not respond to further questions about the incident.
Paramedics took Ms Williams to John Hunter Hospital by ambulance shortly after 1pm with a dislocated finger and multiple wounds to her left hand.
"[I] Had tetanus shot, cannula for antibiotics, clean and dress wounds and dislocated finger pulled back into place with a splint for the next two weeks," Ms Williams said.
Ms Williams moved to Newcastle eight years ago to receive treatment at the Calvary Mater Hospital for mouth cancer, which returned for a second time. She is now in remission.
"She's still got a lot of pain from it," Mr Gorton said. "I don't know how she managed to get away [from the dogs]."
A neighbour took Summer to a vet while the pair waited for emergency services to arrive.
Mr Gorton said he was standing beside Summer when she died on the operating table from her injuries.
"They'd just done too much damage," he said. "They'd ripped her throat open, tore all the back of her neck open and tore her eye out."
Mr Gorton had looked after the rescue dog for three years and spent $20,000 last year on surgery for her back.
"She was just a beautiful little dog," Mr Gorton said. "She had a hard life before we got her and she loved us. Dogs seem to know when they get rescued.
"Because we're both deaf Summer would let us know when someone was walking up the yard. That was her job," she said.
"Heart-loss is the worst pain for us both," Ms Williams said.