AN 11-year-old boy was taken to hospital after being mauled by two dogs.

The youngster was badly bitten on his face and side during the attack in a field off Dove Bank Road, Little Lever, today at 3.30pm.

Neighbours spoke of their horror following the incident which is thought to have involved two Staffie-type dogs.

A resident of Dove Bank Road, who did not wish to be named, said: "I heard a noise out on the field but just thought it was kids making a racket as usual.

"I looked out of the window though and saw a man, presumably his Dad, holding a boy in his arms on the field.

"He then carried him over onto the street and in to their home.

"On the field there was a woman on her knees shouting at two dogs to come over to her.

"They looked very much like staffies. They may not have been but they had similar builds anyway. She then put on their leads and walked them off the field.

"It was obvious then that the boy had been attacked by those dogs.

"I think the boy was on the field with his brother because soon after it happened, the Grandparents came to take the other boy with them and he was crying."

A spokesman from Greater Manchester Police said: "The boy has suffered what looks like injuries to his side and has been taken to hospital."

North West Ambulance Service confirmed that the boy had been taken to Royal Manchester Children's Hospital and that the air ambulance had attended but was not needed.

Another man, who was walking his Yorkshire terrier soon after the incident but preferred not to be named, said: "From what I gather the dog owner was exercising her dogs on the park without leads on.

"The park is for children really and if you walk your dogs you should keep them on the lead in my opinion.

"My dog is the nicest dog in the world but I still wouldn't let him off on here.

"It happened about 3.30 I think and from what I have been told the emergency services were very swift. First response was here within minutes and the ambulance about five minutes later.

"An air ambulance then landed on the field about 15 minutes after that just in case but the boy ended up going in the ambulance. From what I have been told the boy might be in a bad way down one side.

"Someone else said there were marks on his face too."

Cllr Sean Hornby, who arrived on the scene soon after the incident, said: "It's a tragedy what has happened. If he was mauled by those dogs then obviously we just pray that he will be alright. It's just terrible.

"That field is used by children every day, especially in the holidays and if people are walking their dogs on there then they just have to be kept on their leads.

"Unfortunately, the dogs now need to be destroyed and also I want to know what action will be taken against the owner. I would also like to stress that one of my concerns was the time it took for police to arrive. It must have taken them an hour to arrive on the scene and that just is not good enough and I am going to launch a complaint."