A heartbroken dog-owner whose pet was mauled to death in full view of horrified on-lookers has a new puppy but is still too terrified to take it to the park.
Pensioner Diana Walton said nothing will ever replace Folly, the nine-year-old Yorkshire Terrier she saw killed by a “Staffie-type dog” at Belmont Park in front of her eyes.
Since the incident nearly two weeks ago, debate has raged over whether further laws needed to be introduced to control dogs.
And Ms Walton, who supports the introduction of a by-law to keep all dogs on leads in the park, said she had been seeking solace in her new puppy Bella.
She said: “I knew I could not live without a dog as I have always had one in the house. If I didn’t I don’t think I would ever have a reason to get up again.
“I rang every dog rescue place in the country but they were all closed. I then rang a friend who helped me find a Yorkie on the internet. Bella is a dear little dog who sits on my knee. She is not supposed to be a replacement but nothing can ever replace Folly for me.
“I haven’t gone to the park with her yet. But I think I am going to have to make myself at some stage. At the moment we are just going on short little walks.
“The thing that worries me is that this man has still got that dog and it will kill again.”
Following the incident a meeting was held at Belmont Park attended by councillors, officials and police to look at what action could be taken to protect the public and their pets from dangerous dogs.
The possibility of introducing a by-law for all dogs to be kept on leads was agreed to be looked into. There was some support for introducing it on a seasonal basis but the public view will be sought before a decision is made.
Ms Walton said she would be in support a by-law.
“There is no such thing as a bad dog – just bad owners,” she said. “This man just walked out of the park and left me with my dead dog lying by my feet.
“I want to see the dog destroyed – if it was a small child he would have gone straight for her.
“I liked to see Folly wondering around freely in that park for nine years but I don’t know if I would ever dare to let this one go.
“I don’t like it but while there are dogs like this roaming the parks then there needs to be a law that they are kept on leads.
“It is a shame for the vast majority of responsible dog owners. I like my dog to have its freedom. But at the moment I don’t see any other option.”
Chairing the meeting this week was Cllr Richard Westlake, who was also present during the attack.
He said that other dog owners had approached him to voice their concerns about large, dangerous dogs running off the lead.
“They wanted something done about it,” he said.
“So we have to make a response. This meeting has been called to see what can be done and what needs to be done.”
The meeting heard there was a group that use the park with five large dogs that present a regular problem this time of year.
PSCO Kate Rees said: “This is the heart of Newtown and is a family park.
“The only way to make a difference is to have dogs on leads. There is no guarantee that will come into play. But it is important we know what to tell dog owners and what message to send out.
“We will have to wait and see what can be done. This has been really impactful on the community. But the lady has had massive support, which has been really good for her.”