TWO men attempted to kidnap a two-year-old girl off the street after approaching the toddler while she was walking with her mum.
They were only stopped when the mum's hero dog ran after the kidnappers and bit one of the men on the leg.
The terrifying incident took place in Ringwood, Hampshire between 10.40am and 10.50am Wednesday morning.
Police have now launched an urgent hunt for the two men.
They are described as white, in their late 30s, and both around 5ft7ins tall.
Both wore caps, while one had light blue jeans and the other dark jeans.
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A Hampshire police spokesman said: "A woman and her two-year-old daughter were approached by two men who showed an interest in her dog.
"The woman reported that one of the men then picked up her daughter and ran with her towards a nearby housing estate. The child was let go after the dog bit the man on his leg.
"The young girl, and her mother, are being supported by specialist officers who are at this early stage trying to ascertain the exact circumstances of what happened and they are currently dealing with it as an attempted kidnapping."
Detective Inspector Janine Bradley told the Southern Daily Echo: "We fully appreciate that this incident will have a significant impact on the community, and we want to reassure the public that we are taking this report very seriously.
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"Our officers are carrying out extensive inquiries in the local area – including house-to-house visits, scoping CCTV, and there will be high-visibility patrols in the area to reassure the community."
She went on: "If you see our officers and have information pertaining to this incident, please speak with them.
"This occurred in a residential area, during broad daylight, and we would implore anyone who may have seen or heard what happened to come forward. Perhaps you are aware of someone who has today suffered a dog bite to their leg?
"Any information, no matter how small or insignificant you believe it to be, could really help aid our ongoing investigation and identify those responsible."
She added: "Likewise, we would like to ask local residents to review any CCTV or doorbell camera footage that they may have which may have captured the moments leading up to, during or after the incident, to make contact with us."
Anyone with information is asked to call Hampshire Police on 101, quoting ID 44220185316 or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.
It comes as police in Bristol are now treating the disappearance of 15-year-old schoolgirl Maddie Thomas as a case of child abduction.
The teenager has been missing from the Southmead area of the city since April 26, and officers believe she is likely to be with a man.
Detective Inspector Laura Miller said: "We are no longer investigating Maddie’s disappearance as a missing person case but as a child abduction.
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"When Maddie has previously gone missing she has been found in the company of adult men and it is mainly due to this history that we believe she is likely to currently be with someone.
"Maddie is a child in foster care, no one has permission to keep her from her carers. She is vulnerable and at risk of being taken advantage of."
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