BETH Penfold does not know if she will ever regain full use of her right index finger after she was bitten by a dog on Thursday evening.
The retired nurse said she had her seven-year-old golden retriever, Bear, on a leash and was walking him at the back of Coffs Harbour Showground when another dog ran at him.
The retriever was thrown to the ground, screaming as his attacker's teeth met his throat and as Beth tried to help her pet, the other dog turned on her, inflicting savage gashes and deep punctures.
She said her index finger now had no feeling.
Beth said a group of young boys riding their bikes at the Showground were the heroes of the hour, rushing to her aid and getting the dog off her.
“They were so brave,” Beth said.
“They must have been about 12 or 13 and I often spoke to them when Bear and I went for our walks.
“They are such great little guys.”
She said the boys also ran to alert her husband and took down the registration number of the dog owner's car, while some soccer players also helped her before the ambulance arrived.
Beth described the attack dog as a 'pit bull terrier' but said the dog's owner had told her the dogs were American Staffordshire bull terriers.
Pit bulls are a restricted breed in Australia.
Senior ranger with Coffs Harbour City Council Gordon Polkinghorne said the heavy set brindle dog that attacked Beth Penfold was listed on the council's database as a Staffordshire bull terrier cross, with its companion listed as an American Staffordshire bull terrier.
He said council had sent the owner a notice of intention to declare the animal a restricted breed, which placed very stringent controls on how the dog was housed and kept.
Mr Polkinghorne said the owner had a seven-day right of appeal but he could see no reason why council would change its position on declaring the dog dangerous.