An incredible 30-hour stand-off between 30 police officers in riot gear and two dangerous dogs unfolded after a teenager was horrifically injured in a sustained attack by the animals.
The officers used Tasers to free the victim as he was being savaged and even called in armed response units to deal with the dogs but eventually had to resort to calling a vet trained in using tranquillisers on lions.
The out-of-control dogs were eventually sedated with a dart and then given a lethal injection by the vet summoned from the local zoo, more than 30 hours after the initial attack.
Police are now investigating whether the two dogs were of a banned pitbull-type breed after the prolonged 'siege' in which they tried a variety of unsuccessful tactics to capture the pair.
The drama began at 9am on Monday when 19-year-old Daniel Boardman called an ambulance to say he was being attacked.
Armed response officers were sent to a house in Blackburn, Lancashire, where they found the victim being mauled and pulled in opposite directions by each dog.
They broke down the door of a boarded-up house where Mr Boardman was minding the pets and used their stun guns to repel the dogs and drag him to safety.
But because of the danger the dogs posed to police officers, they were left in the house for 24 hours with a police guard outside.
At 10am on Tuesday, several police support units with riot gear, armed police, the RSPCA, and a specially trained vet from a zoo in Cumbria arrived at the scene.
With the dogs 'roaming' through the house, officers were not sent into the premises for their own safety, but began trying to lure the dogs out of the open back door into the rear yard.
Two marksmen on ladders were poised with guns as officers tried a variety of tactics.
The dogs were called by their names, whistled for and, at one point, dog food was thrown over the wall into the yard.
One officer had a long clothes prop and another used a yellow ball to try to get their attention. As they did, another officer was waiting with wire attached to the back door to close it once the dogs were out.
At the front door was a pile of bloodied tissues and used plastic gloves. Through the downstairs front room window, a large empty metal dog cage was visible and the door frame was covered in bloody smears.
But after two hours, the dogs had not been drawn out. Officers with padded 'dog suits' went in through the front door with the animals trapped in an upstairs front bedroom, distracted by an officer on a ladder borrowed from a resident banging on the glass.
At 1.30pm, a panel in the bedroom door was removed and the vet shot each dog with a tranquiliser dart.
They were then both given a lethal injection. The dead dogs were finally brought out around 2.10pm.
Chief Superintendent Bob Eastwood praised Sergeant Mark Pass and PC Martin Wyatt who were first on the scene.
He said: 'Both officers were confronted with a difficult situation in which a young man was being subjected to a ferocious attack by two large and dangerously out of control dogs.
'I applaud their bravery and it is thanks to the quick and decisive action of these two officers that this man was saved from even further serious injury.'
Initial reports suggested there were 60 officers involved in the operation but this was denied by a police spokesman.
He added: 'It was a protracted incident which was due to the circumstances and the need to consult experts around the best way to humanely destroy the dogs.'
Speaking at the scene yesterday before the dogs were destroyed, owner Mark Rowland said he had got the dogs as puppies two-and-a-half years ago.
He said: 'They are Bullmastifs, not dangerous dogs. They are insured, registered and have never fought in their life.
'They're well behaved and this has just been an accident.'
The 24-year-old from Accrington, Lancashire, was arrested on suspicion of possessing a banned dog and has been bailed pending further inquires. His mobile phone was seized by police.
Victim Mr Boardman has been left with what police have described as 'life-changing' injuries with bites to his arms, legs and buttocks.
The severe bites to his limbs, particularly on his arm, are down to his tendons and bone and will require major surgery.