Hawke's Bay has a problem with roaming dogs, says 79-year-old Joan Sye.

Sye, from Hastings, knows just how much of a problem even one can be.

She was on a stroll through Akina Park on January 8 with her beloved dog Gigi when the bichon poodle was attacked by a large Staffy.

Sye put her life at risk to try to save her pet.

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"I had seen this dog before and thought, 'Thank goodness it's behind a fence', but then I saw it rushing down the path."

Joan Sye of Hastings and her small dog were attacked by a larger dog when out walking in a local park. They were both injured, but her small dog Gigi died. Video Warren Buckland.

Sye said she reacted quickly, picking up Gigi and holding her above her