A local veterinarian is calling for more segregated dog parks in the Lower Mainland.
Dr. Adrian Walton believes separate enclosures in off-leash areas will reduce the number of dog attacks.
"I find that really helps, especially in situations when you're coming across dogs that you don't know,” said Walton.
There are more than a dozen segregated dog parks in the Lower Mainland.
Pet owners at Hinge Park in Vancouver say the “small dog only” gate, that separates the enclosures, is treated merely as a suggestion.
"To be honest I don't remember the last time I saw the gate closed. It's always been open and it seems that, at least at this park, typically all the dogs have full range,” said dog owner Carl Rudnik.
Shannon Griffith has witnessed aggressive behaviour at off-leash parks.
She said playful fighting can quickly escalate to something potentially dangerous.
"My dog was playing with a retriever and things kind of turned for the worse. Thankfully the retriever's owner got down and straddled the dog and broke it up."
The debate around the responsibilities of dog ownership was reignited by a violent dog attack in South Vancouver last week.
A Yorkshire terrier was killed and a woman was taken to hospital after they were confronted by a large dog on a walk along East 57 Avenue on Wednesday night.
The aggressive dog’s owner and bystanders tried to help, but three-year-old terrier did not survive.
"He was like barking at the other dog and the dog just picked him up by his teeth and kind of swung him around,” said owner Purvi Sharma on Thursday.
The City of Vancouver animal control department is now investigating that attack.
There are several enclosures for small dogs in Metro Vancouver, which are found here: