A Dartmouth, Nova Scotia family is devastated after their beloved pet dog was killed by two other dogs while they were out for a walk Monday night.

Paul Burgess says his girlfriend and her mother were walking through their neighbourhood, near Portland Estates in Dartmouth, with their Shih Tzu Odis when two vicious dogs came out of nowhere and attacked Odis.

"They were mauling him, ripping him apart," says Burgess. "One was grabbing one side, one was grabbing the other side, and they were just being like savages and ripping him apart; tore the whole insides out of him."

His mother-in-law tried to wrap the dog in her arms to protect it, but the two dogs ripped it from her arms, knocking her to the ground.

"Helpless," says Burgess of the attack. "You can't do nothing."

Odis was a part of his family for four years, and Burgess says they are devastated over the loss.

"I was up basically crying all night," he says. "My kids are upset….just like having a baby, he's a lap dog."

"I was pretty close (to Odis)," says Burgess' daughter MacKenzie Walker. "I treated him like he was my sister or brother, and now he's gone."

Police say the dogs weren't wearing collars and were roaming the streets alone. Burgess scoured the neighbourhood Tuesday searching for the dogs that killed his pet.

The family says one dog had tiger stripes, while the second was either black or dark grey with a white patch on its chest. They are speaking out in the hopes that someone knows who owns the pets.

"The dogs should be put down," he says.

Police are now investigating the attack and they say the dogs owners could be charged and fined for having dogs running at large, dogs that attack, and possibly for not having them registered.

"We're taking it very seriously," says Theresa Rath, a spokeswoman for Halifax Regional Police. "We have an officer going door-to-door in the neighbourhood trying to find out who owns the dogs.

Animal services is looking through their case history, as well as their licensing database to see if there's any pit bulls in that area and we will go knocking on doors of pit bull owners."

In the meantime, they are warning area residents to be cautious as the dogs may still be on the loose.

With files from CTV Atlantic's Kayla Hounsell