There is mixed reaction among dog owners about Tauranga's Yatton Park after a puppy was mauled there.

Some dog owners are happy using the park but on Facebook others say it is too dangerous because of large dogs.

A Pomeranian puppy called Fizzgig died after what was believed to be a German shepherd cross grabbed it and shook it vigorously, as reported on Thursday. The attack left co-owner Chelles McIntosh and her daughter Lian Hobbs, 15, traumatised.

The Bay of Plenty Times Weekend visited the park yesterday and found Alan Pittman, with his eight and a half year old Maltese terrier George, who said he had never had any trouble from other dogs at the park. He drives from his home in Greerton.

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"We've been coming here for nearly eight and a half years and there aren't many days when we've missed - (George) knows the place like the back of his hand."

He said some of the dog owners who used the park had previously taken action themselves when others, with dogs that were not properly controlled, had gone to the park.

"There have been a lot of new people coming here recently. One woman started coming here with two bigger dogs that weren't trained properly and it got to the stage when the dog people said to her, 'we'd rather you didn't come here anymore,' and I've not seen her since.

"Most people who come here are reliable dog owners and keep their dogs under control and clean up after themselves."

He said there is a tendency for people with smaller dogs to use the more formal, front, part of the park and those with bigger dogs to use the less formal, rear, part of the park.

William Gerard, from Judea, goes to various parks and reserves to walk his dog, including Yatton Park.

He said he would be distraught if another dog injured his dog, Poochie, a labrador-rottweiler cross.

"She's very friendly to other dogs - she's very special to me and I wouldn't want her to get attacked," he said.

But he said he was always wary about other dogs.

''I've seen some dogs that I am a little bit wary about and I keep her on the lead to be on the safe side because people might be a bit frightened of her even though she is friendly and likes to play a lot with other dogs.

''When I lived in Switzerland I had two Chihuahuas and was very wary about bigger dogs.''

Winsome Helms, of Mount Maunganui, was making a rare visit to Yatton Park yesterday with her border collie-golden retriever cross.

"I keep her close and put a lead on her but I'm not worried about her because she's very obedient. But I am a bit wary of other dogs running around. I am a little bit more wary and looking about a bit more than would have been last week (before she heard about the attack)," she said.

Some commenters on the Bay of Plenty Times Facebook page, though, are reluctant to use Yatton Park for walking their dogs, or even taking their grandchildren.

"Very sad , too many dogs off leash there. Don't take grand children there anymore. as some times feel intimidated by larger dogs . There needs to be an inner city space for dog owners with open space'' - Kenny McCallum.


''I walk my 2 boys at yatton park quiet often, always leave them on their lead though cause I'm unsure of all the other dogs in the park from Random's to the dog walking group that an people are scared of my dogs as their big boys.
It's horrible what happened to your pup an shouldn't of happened, hopefully the owner of the other dog will come forward or at very least start controlling there dog properly!" - Danielle Nicole Pashley.

''Very sad - I won't run my dog's there, there's a lot of dogs - owners don't even know where they are, might be dog friendly park BUT keep them under control. . SO SLACK"- Lynn McKay.

When i saw this I knew it would be at Yatton Park.
Have had to try and get a big dog off a little dig there before. The owner didn't even care! - Jen Durham.