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Fred Jerschke's love of dogs cost him flesh and bone yesterday when he was attacked by a fatally injured animal.

The dog, which was hit by a bus on Auckland's Great North Rd, near Karangahape Rd, crunched 2cm off his left index finger. It also bit the 73-year-old retired Mt Eden builder's right hand.

Mr Jerschke and his son were on their way to a building site around 9.30am when they saw the dog, one of two unleashed pets with a woman, run in front of the bus.

"It was a rottweiler or pitbull," said Mr Jerschke. "I didn't think he would be as aggro as he was.

"His legs were out and he was dragging himself. I thought I would get him by the collar and drag him across. First he bit my right hand. It happened so quick. Then he got hold of this finger - and did it hurt! He just took it off and he's taken a bit of the bone too."

Mr Jerschke was last night in Middlemore Hospital for plastic surgery to patch the finger.