A HUGE dog, named Big Daddy, has gone on the rampage in a block of flats, leaving five people in hospital.
The animal, thought to be a cross between an American pitbull and Staffordshire terrier, broke free from its owner outside his Leith home in the early hours of the morning before launching the attacks.
Police officers who turned up to help were said to have taken refuge in a bin chute cupboard to escape from the dog.
A specialist police dog handling unit eventually managed to contain the animal, and it will now be destroyed as inquiries continue.
Tesco worker Ian Nolan – a former army dog handler – was one of those attacked when he went to help at 3.30am.
He told how the notorious dog belonged to a neighbour in Cables Wynd House, off Great Junction Street, who had been taking it home when it broke free, biting him. The dog then ran towards a couple returning home to their flat, dislocating the woman’s shoulder as it knocked her over and ripping through her boyfriend’s clothes.
When Mr Nolan, 41, emerged from his flat to see what the noise was, he too was badly bitten, along with another female neighbour who had emerged from her home. All were taken to hospital to be treated for their wounds.
Mr Nolan said: “I just heard a racket and recognised the voices of my neighbours, so community spirit kicked in, I grabbed a metal pole and ran outside to protect them.
“I saw this massive dog from down the landing – it must be about 15 stone – and there was blood everywhere. My neighbour had his top taken right off. Because of what I did in the army I knew a bit about what to do, but even then I was only just getting it under control. The owner just ran into his flat – it was going absolutely mental.”
At one stage, Mr Nolan said he had the dog by the collar as the others fled inside his flat. He tried to follow them and lock the dog out but as he closed the door, the animal jammed its paw in, muscled through and charged around his hall.
Mr Nolan added: “When the handlers finally arrived they were dressed like Michelin men. The police before that took one look at the dog and decided – wisely – there was nothing they could do and hid beside the chute.”
Residents in the block said they had been worried about the dog for some time. One even told how its favourite toy was a full-size “chunky” car tyre which it swung happily round its neck.
One local, who did not want to be named, said: “The thing was massive, it had a neck like tree trunk, and it was kept locked in a cage all day.”
The council-owned Cables Wynd House is undergoing renovation, with residents receiving new kitchens and heaters, and one workman told the Evening News they had refused to enter the property until the owner could prove the dog was locked up.
A council spokesman said: “We are aware of the incident and our staff have been helping police with their investigation.”
A police spokeswoman said: “Police were called to a disturbance at Cables Wynd House, Edinburgh, around 3.30am yesterday after three men, aged 23, 41 and 43, and two women aged 38 and 42 years, were injured in a dog attack.
“The dog has been seized and will be destroyed. Inquiries are ongoing to establish the circumstances surrounding the incident.”