A couple in Lavoy, Alberta is heartbroken after three pit bulls allegedly killed their bichon poodle mix in their front yard.

Mae and Hughie MacDougall told CTV News 10-year-old Mitzi was by her favourite tree in search of squirrels when three pit bulls grabbed and dragged her under a trailer.

“When the dog looked at me, I said, ‘Oh, my God, that’s a pit bull...the three of them are.’”

“One was at the front end and one was at the back end, and they were pulling on her,” Hughie said.

Hughie jumped into action and tried to save their pet.

“I grabbed one dog and tried to get his mouth open to let go and that’s when it bit me.”

The man got 32 stitches.

After he tried to save her, Hughie realized Mitzi would not survive.

“The side of her face was all ripped apart and it was deep,” he told CTV News in tears.

RCMP are investigating the alleged attack, but did not confirm the breed of the dogs. Two of the dogs were seized and police are in search of the third.

The MacDougalls want all three pit bulls to be euthanized.

“I’ll never get over this,” Mae said. "I can’t even sleep. I close my eyes and I see her and it haunts me.”

Lavoy is approximately 118 kilometres east of Edmonton.

With files from Nicole Weisberg