The owners of an American Bulldog have been charged after their dog allegedly attacked an elderly couple and a few members of a local football team in Mississauga.

The incident happened around 7 p.m. on Tuesday night at John Fraser Secondary School. Liston Bates, coach for the Oakville Longhorns semi-pro team and the MIFA Lady Longhorns, said the incident occurred just as his two teams were about to start warmups.

One of his players alerted him to a noise, and said that something was happening behind the bleachers.

“We heard a rumbling and we thought it was two dogs fighting,” he told CTV News Toronto. “We turned around and sure enough, there was an elderly couple being attacked by a massive dog.”

Bates said the man was trying to act as a decoy to help the woman and the unleashed dog “nipped” him. It then turned and went after the woman again.

“She became more frantic and it could probably feel her fear,” Bates said. “It knocked her over … it looked like it was going for the lady’s neck.”

At this point, the captain of one of the football teams jumped off the bleachers and called to the dog.

“I just thought, someone has to do something here,” Matt Walters told CTV News Toronto. “I had the lady 10 yards behind me and the dog in front of me and I was like, just trying to protect her really.”

“That’s when it charged right at me. I think I put my hand out, that’s maybe when it bit my wrist.”

Quarterback Dave Ferkul jumped in to help Walters. He also suffered cuts to his wrists and hands. Bates said that he may be out of commission for the rest of the football season.

Throughout the ordeal, the dog owners were trying to get the dog under control. Bates said that one of the two owners was trying to get in between the dog and the woman, but lost control of the animal. When the dog was engaged with the football player, the owners were able to get a hold of the animal and took it off the field.

Bates said that witnesses asked them to stay at the scene but the owners left the area.

“The owners did leave the scene with the dog following the incident and the officers had to speak with the owner later on at their residence,” said Cst. Iryna Yashnyk, a spokesperson for Peel Regional Police.

Authorities say the owners have been charged with failing to have a dog on a leash and failing to prevent an attack.

The case has been turned over to animal control.

In total, five people were treated by paramedics after the incident. Bates said that every single member of both football teams, from the captain and quarterback who jumped into action to the players trying to distract the dog from the sidelines, are “heroes.”

“I’m just proud to be their head coach,” he said.

-With files from Sean Leathong