A Shetland pony's jaw muscle was ripped off in a vicious dog attack - and now its devastated owner claims the dog walker who promised to pay the vet bills has fled.
Karenza, a 13-year-old pony, was attacked by the animal, believed to be an AMERICAN BULLDOG, while grazing near the beach in Crosby, Merseyside.
The wounded animal required 22 staples in her face to close the gory seven-inch cut following the attack on August 8.
She is still undergoing extensive veterinary treatment which could rack up bills of up to £3,000.
Her owner Becky Hepworth, 25, from Waterloo, Liverpool, was at work when she received the shocking texts from a friend showing her pet's injuries.
She said: 'Karenza was grazing on the grass with my friend when the dog came over and barked at them both while the owner shouted that 'don't worry, the dog is friendly'.
'My pony managed to flee from the dog but my friend lost her balance and had to let go of her.
'The dog chased my pony and has bitten her on the face and the owner had to run over and leave his children to pull him off and get the dog under control.'
Ms Hepworth, who has owned Karenza for two years, said her friend called her afterwards 'in hysterics' and texted her pictures of the terrible injuries.
She rushed home from work on order to take the pony to a vet.
She claims that in the wake of the incident the dog's owner gave her his contact details but after he initially apologised and offered to cover the vet bills she has since been unable to contact him.
Vets discovered that half of Karenza's jaw muscle was bitten through by the dog which meant she could not eat, and it also caused her salivary gland to leak.
The pony had to be fed intravenously, as well as undergoing injections to stop the gland leaking, and had two hours of initial treatment before being put under 24-hour intensive care.
She spent two spells at Leahurst Equine Practice in Neston, Wirral, and Ms Hepworth, who works as a human resource assistant, is now facing mounting vet bills.
She said: 'I spoke to the owner once and he was very apologetic and offered to pay for the injuries but since then he has switched his phone off.
'I'm angry about it because I could be looking a bill that is more than my monthly wage with around £1,200 that is not covered by insurance and around £1,700 that is covered.
'Karenza is not the same since the incident - she has completely changed her behaviour, it is a real struggle to get her in at night and she is a bit more cheeky.
'She is struggling to be around dogs and she doesn't like to be touched.'
A fundraising page has been set up to cover the cost of the veterinary bills.
Merseyside Police said they are investigating the incident and continued attempts are being made to identify and trace the owner of the dog.