THE MOTHER of a young boy who was attacked by an XL bully outside a church in Newport last week has called her son a 'true hero'. 

Tina Scarpato's eldest son Theo, 11, was bitten on his right thigh when he ran towards an XL bully dog in a bid to protect his siblings. 

The family were leaving St Michael's R.C. Church on Clarence Street in Pillgwenlly, Newport, just before midday on Sunday, June 30, when the attack happened. 

According to his mother, Theo's younger brother Frankie, nine, had spotted the dog outside a property just as the family were returning to their car. 

Tina Scarpato's son Theo was bitten by an XL bully while trying to protect his brother and sisterTina Scarpato's son Theo was bitten by an XL bully while trying to protect his brother and sister (Image: Tina Scarpato) She said: "We stopped and waited for the dog to re enter the property, and when it was safe we walked forward.

Then the same dog came running out growling and Theo ran as fast as he could towards it. 

"The dog chased him around a parked car before lunging forward  and locking onto the back of his right thigh."

Ms Scarpato explained that the dog's owner did immediately come out and pull his dog off Theo, before returning to check if he was okay. 

She added: "Theo’s leg was pouring with blood and he was shaking with fear and screaming help me.

"My other children were both shaking and screaming. 

With the help of a parishioner, I took Theo to my mum's house in Potter Street, where we rang the police and were advised to take him straight to the hospital." 

The family went to the Grange University Hospital in Cwmbran, where Theo was taken to see a doctor after staff had further informed the police as the size of the bite "looked horrific". 

Theo had to have stitches after the attackTheo had to have stitches after the attack (Image: Tina Scarpato) Further tests revealed Theo had suffered five puncture wounds, a deep cut and multiple scratches and bruising. 

He stayed in hospital to have the wounds cleaned and stitched, while police attended the property, where the owner handed over the animal and it was destroyed. 

Mum Tina added: "Theo is healing well and is due to have his stitches out next week. This traumatic event has affected the whole family and we are all so fearful of dogs.

"Theo also said he ran away from us as he didn’t want the dog to hurt his little brother and sister so he really is our true hero.

"We want to thank everyone who has supported us during this - the staff at the hospital, people at the church and people at Pill Harriers RFC where Theo plays rugby and our family."

Theo is a keen sportsman, and can't wait to get back on the fieldTheo is a keen sportsman, and can't wait to get back on the field (Image: Tina Scarpato) The family were told Theo was so lucky to have been bitten on his thigh as anywhere else could have had catastrophic damage or they could have even lost him.

Ms Scarpato said: "Theo is a keen rugby player and loves football, so this injury has really taken a toll on his mental health. He cannot wait to get back on the field and be active again.

"Theo loves dogs but this has really made him really afraid and nervous around them."