Two strangers armed only with a six-pack of beer have been hailed as heroes for stopping a dog that was savaging an elderly woman outside a home in Sans Souci.
Irene Koutsounadis, 90, is in a critical condition in St George Hospital having undergone surgery for injuries to her head after she was attacked by her daughter's American pit bull terrier in the front yard of the house about 7pm on Friday.
Her daughter, well-known multiculturalism and refugee advocate Vivi Germanos-Koutsounadis, 70, who lives at the Evans Street home, suffered serious injuries to her hands as she tried to pull her dog, Caesar, off her mother.
Neighbours said the dog had a "vice-like grip" on Mrs Koutsounadis and only released the woman after two strangers - Justin Innes and his son Jacob - who just happened to be walking past carrying six bottles of Victoria Bitter on their way to a Good Friday family dinner, came to the women's aid.
"We thought the screaming was a fight or something so we did a light jog around the corner and there was a dog basically chewing a lady's face off. I've never seen so much blood," Justin Innes said.
"I gave my son the six-pack I was carrying and told him to stay back but the dog was going crazy. I was hitting it but I had nothing, so I told my son to give me a beer and I hit it with that.
"Then he came and hit it with the rest of the six-pack."
Justin Innes said the dog then turned on his son, and then himself, before they were able to wrestle it inside and lock it in the house.
"We had to fight the dog, then I’ve thrown him inside. I got bitten on my left inner thigh. Thank god it was a bit lower. I've already got kids though, so I am all right," he said.
Neighbour Dianne McCallum said the whole incident could have been more catastrophic if it was not for the actions of the father and son.
"It was pretty horrible, there was blood all over the place," Mrs McCallum said. "The two men that were walking past deserve a medal. They just went to the aid of somebody they didn't know."
Justin Innes, however, said there were "no heroics" by him and his son.
"There’s no heroism here, I would expect if it was my mother to do the same thing," he said. "Instinct kicks in, you just do what you have to do."
Justin Innes said he hoped to visit both women in hospital. He said he also owes his dad beer.
"My dad was a bit upset because it was his six-pack," he said. "I said it’s all good, I’ll buy him a case."
Neighbours said they had no idea what had triggered the dog attack, saying both women had just returned home having attended a Good Friday church service.
Vivi Germanos-Koutsounadis, who was awarded an Order of Australia and the Human Rights Medal for her work with Sydney's ethnic communities, has kept a number of large dogs at the Sans Souci home over the years.
While neighbours said she was cautious with her dogs, and always kept them locked up, she had received complaints about their behaviour over the years.
It is understood that the dog, which was taken away to an animal shelter, will be destroyed.