THE 13-year-old boy who was knifed in the back has no idea his beloved pet dog was stabbed to death in the same attack.

The family of Michael Stevenson, who was was left in a critical condition after he was stabbed in the back on a pathway between Epson Avenue and Catterick Avenue, say they don't think he is strong enough to cope with the news.

Michael and his Rottweiler Roxy were just minutes away from his Hurst Avenue home and St Margaret Ward RC Primary School, when the knifeman struck at 4.30pm on Saturday.

Michael was stabbed in the back and Roxy was stabbed multiple times as she tried to protect him.

She died at the scene.

Michael was rushed to Wythenshawe Hospital’s intensive care unit and is now said to be in a stable condition.

But the Blessed Thomas Holford pupil and former St Hughs Primary School pupil has yet to be told about the death Roxy, who he idolised, as mum Marie doesn’t think he is strong enough to cope with the news.

Speaking from their Sale home, Michael’s uncle and aunt John and Sandra Walker, said the news had come as a horrible shock.

“It was just disbelief that someone could do that to another human being. A 13-year-old child, who was just out playing football with friends,” Sandra, 47, said.

The couple described Michael as a very lovable, confident and sports mad youngster, who loved football and had recently had trials for Stockport County.

John, 49, appealed for information and said: “It’s so hard to believe that a young lad, a 13-year-old boy, my nephew is fighting for his life.

“If anyone has any information then please come forward and let the police know so we can find this man.”

Michael, a huge Manchester United fan, was out playing football with friends after watching the derby on TV when the family’s other dog, an American Pit Bull called Zeeta got into a fight with a pit bull type dog.

It is believed the owner of the dog left the scene and returned later on when he stabbed Michael and fatally stabbed four-year-old Roxy as she tried to protect him.

Michael’s heartbroken mum Marie and two older brothers Damon and Wesley, issued an appeal for anyone with information to go to the police and said there was ‘nothing worse than being told your 13 year-old child has been stabbed’.

Superintendent Shirley Cullis-Wilding has thanked the community for their ‘fantastic’ response and said they were following some positive lines of inquiry.

She also sought to reassure the community and said: "This was an isolated incident and the community has no reason to worry about their safety."

Anyone with any information is asked to call police on 0161 856 9169 or the independent charity Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.