Two Nelson dog owners were left hysterical and traumatised after their chihuahua-cross puppies were savaged by a much larger dog at Nelson's Back Beach and died in their arms.
The killer dog and its owner had still not been located this morning.
"It's horrible," Kate Earl, the owner of one of the dogs, said today. "It isn't the fact it's me and my friend, it isn't the fact they've gone. It's how we keep seeing it over and over again and it could've been prevented so easily."
Ms Earl, 24, and friend Shiree Brunell, 17, took their dogs to the Parker's Cove area at the end of Parkers Rd to exercise and socialise them on Saturday afternoon.
Ms Earl said the dogs were on leads and were approached by a much larger ginger-coloured crossbred dog that looked like it had pit bull bull-mastiff genes.
The dog was not on a lead and its owner, a larger woman, yelled out to them: "Don't worry, he's fine".
She said the bigger dog, which she heard the owner calling "Red", lost control and first viciously attacked and crushed Milo, a nine-week-old pomeranian- chihuahua cross.
"Shiree picked him up and he was fitting ... she was screaming, you've killed my puppy."
Ms Earl said her dog, Nizmo a six-month old chihuahua-toy poodle cross, was terrified and tried to escape the situation.
Ms Earl said she tried to scoop up Nizmo, but could not as he was running around her feet.
She picked him up and yelled at her boyfriend Kieran Puklowski and told him: "He's dying."
The dog's owner started abusing them telling them being upset was not helping anything.
"She was horrible, she told us to stop screaming and crying and the puppies were in shock."
Ms Earl said the woman had kicked the dog but that had not stopped it attacking the puppies. She then accused the women's dogs of causing the attack.
She then walked off leading her dog by the collar, leaving the pair holding their dead dogs.
Ms Earl said the attack had left her unable to sleep or stop crying.
It could easily have been prevented if the woman had told them to pick up their dogs, she said.
She wanted others to hear the story as a warning.
"It sounds horrible, but I'm glad it's the pups and not a child."
Nelson dog control officer Stephen Lawrence said dog control officers attended the incident and were investigating it.
Mr Lawrence said from the description of the owner officers believed they may know the dog owner. Officers and police had visited the property of that person on Saturday, but were unable to locate the owner or the dog.
Mr Lawrence said the case was unusual and obviously upsetting for the owners, and dog control would be doing everything it could to bring it to a conclusion.
"This is still under investigation and while we suspect we know who it is, it's not 100 per cent certain."
Parkers Rd resident Bruce McTaggart said he helped the women after the attack.
He saw the dog owner with the killer dog at the scene and said she did not stop.
He said she walked down Parkers Rd before returning to the beach area to try to avoid being found.
He said the dog was not on a lead and the owner was able to hold on to its collar and walk along without bending down.
He said the dead dogs did not look like they had been badly injured. He was concerned that it was not safe for dog owners at the beach until this dog was caught.
"I would say this big dog has just grabbed them and gone crunch. If it did that to a wee dog, it could do it to a child."
- The Nelson Mail
Does Nelson deserve to be classed as a city?Related story: (See story)