Police are appealing to the public to identify a pitbull terrier dog that attacked and killed another dog in Tairāwhiti on Sunday.
Police say the owners of 11-year-old Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, Ruby, were walking her near the corner of Frances St and Moana Rd in Okitu, Tairāwhiti at 8.35am when the incident happened.
A passing police unit used pepper spray to separate the tan-coloured short-haired pitbull terrier from Ruby.
Detective Mark Moorhouse said: "Ruby suffered horrific injuries and died before help could arrive.
"This was an extremely traumatic event to witness for Ruby's owners, other members of the public and our staff."
The woman with the pitbull terrier at the time was aged between 40 and 50, and of Māori or Pasifika descent, police said.
"She was wearing black sunglasses, a grey hoodie sweater and black pants," Moorhouse said.
Police asked the woman to remain at the scene with the pitbull terrier, but she fled while police were comforting Ruby's owners.
Police are appealing to the public for any information, including video footage that may help to identify the dog and it's owner.
Moorhouse said: "We are concerned that this could happen again so it is important the dog is identified as soon as possible."
Anyone with information is urged to contact police on 105 and quote event number P050349832.
Information can also be provided anonymously via Crime Stoppers on 0800 555 111.