A STERN warning was sent to owners of savage dogs yesterday after an American bulldog was put down after it killed a small dog with one bite.
The dog escaped from its Eastern Heights yard through an open gate attacking a pet Maltese-Shitzu as it was being walked by its owner.
The killer dog was immediately surrendered by its owners and later destroyed by pound officers.
Ipswich councillor Andrew Antoniolli said the incident served as a timely warning on responsible pet ownership.
"We make no apologies for fulfilling our duty to ensure community safety, however all of this could have been avoided had the owner been more careful."
An American bulldog escaped its yard as his owners were driving into the property and seized the moment to kill a neighbour's dog.
The neighbour, Grace Preston, was almost home after taking her two small dogs out for a walk.
The American bulldog had turned its mood in seconds from greeting the children in its front yard to escaping and charging at the two dogs.
Mrs Preston picked one dog up, Bella, but had no time to save her 7-year-old maltese-shitzu, Lucy.
The bulldog locked its jaws on Mrs Preston's dog and dragged Mrs Preston to the ground when she tried to save her pet.
Her dog died on the way to the vet from massive chest and internal injuries after the incident last week and the bulldog was surrendered to Council and has been put down.
"It's frightening," Mrs Preston said. "It is absolutely terrifying to have one of those big dogs coming at you.
"People have said that Lucy saved my life because if I had her in my arms I could have been knocked down flat. That dog was heavier and bigger than me."
She said the incident was distressing for her family and the neighbourhood.
"Lucy was more than just a dog," she said. "She was full of personality. Little dogs become part of the family."
She said it could have been a child attacked by the bulldog and called on council to launch an awareness campaign on responsible pet ownership.
The incident is the third time a big dog has grabbed one of the Preston's two dogs on walks.
The chain on a big dog snapped while Mrs Preston and husband David were walking the dogs at Limestone Park and Mr Preston and the other dog owner were able to pull the dog back.
The second time a German shepherd escaped its yard and attacked Bella while Mrs Preston was taking it for a walk.
With the owner's help, they freed the dog and Bella survived with minor puncture wounds.
"Some people that have big dogs think because they are friendly around them, it is OK to have a big dog out the front yard," she said.
"Don't think you can leave your gates open. Secure your dogs, have a second fence if you have an aggressive dog.
"You need to be mindful if you have a big dog, the responsibility is on the owner to protect their neighbours, to secure the dog correctly, make sure if you are taking it for a walk that it has a good lead, not one that is going to break."
The American bulldog was not registered and owners surrendered the dog to council. The family had only recently moved to the neighbourhood and had the dog for three weeks.
Council's Health and Community Safety Committee chairman Andrew Antoniolli said the incident was a reminder to ensure dog owners always have their pets under effective control.
"This is not the first time that a person entering and leaving a property has inadvertently allowed a dog to escape and attack a person or a pet," he said.
"While this matter is still under investigation, it does serve to be a reminder to everybody that they are responsible for their pet and they can be held responsible for the actions of their pet."
Cr Antoniolli said anyone registering their dog signed a clause that there is adequate fencing to contain their dog.