A Te Puke woman traumatised after seeing her 5-month-old puppy viciously mauled by a larger dog is pleading with owners to be more responsible with their pets.
On Thursday, Vicki Scoggins took her poodle-fox terrier cross Poppy and her 12-year-old red and white border collie Frodo for their usual daily walk about 7.45am.
As they walked along Stock Rd towards Jubilee Park, a large dog ran through a gap in a fence and attacked Poppy.
"I heard what I thought sounded like a horse coming up behind me. I turned around to see a huge dark brindle dog running towards us," Mrs Scoggins told the Herald.
"It just picked up the pup ... she had no show."
The dog grabbed Poppy by her throat and and started to shake her around. Mrs Scoggins tried to pry it off her puppy, screaming at it and hitting it with a stick.
"But it wouldn't let go of her. The owners came through the gap in the fence and got the dog off. The man took the dog away and the lady said she would go and get her car from the carpark and take us to the vet. I walked to meet her but they didn't show up."
Mrs Scoggins carried her badly injured dog to the vet.
"My wee girl was still alive but traumatised and screaming in agony. Initially things looked reasonably promising but sad to say there was no happy ending.
"On further investigation our wee girl had a broken neck and we had to put her to sleep. It was very traumatic, it shouldn't have happened."
Mrs Scoggins called animal control officials to report the attack, but officers could do little as she could not identify the dog's owners.
"I'm not even sure if they were local. They might have just been passing through. The dog control guy reckoned the dog had probably done that before - that's why the people didn't show up."
She urged people with aggressive dogs to be more responsible and keep them on leashes in public places. She also wanted other dog-owners to be more cautious and not take the safety of their pets for granted.
"It's sobering. People have to be more responsible. I don't want anyone else's animal to go through that."
Mrs Scoggins was angry and disappointed, but more sad at the loss of her beloved pet.
"Lots of tears but lots of lovely memories," she said.
"Most of all I am left with a reminder that each of us can do the best we can but we do not know what tomorrow will bring; not to take anything for granted."
She still hoped to speak to the owners of the dog that attacked Poppy.
They can get in touch with Mrs Scoggins by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.