BEND, Ore. - They hope behind the fence, their best friends will be safe.
And even though it was all wagging tails and happy barks Wednesday at the Pine Nursery Off-Leash Dog Park, Tuesday afternoon was a very different story.
"I was shocked, actually," said a Bend man who goes to dog parks around town every day.
Another woman said, "I'm appalled -- I can't believe it. I've never even seen dogs fighting here."
Deschutes County sheriff's deputies say an American bulldog attacked and killed a small Papillon Tuesday around 3 p.m.
"The owner of the victim dog was right there and saw it, and he was trying to intervene, but it happened so quickly," said Sgt. Vance Lawrence.
Lawrence said during the attack, the owner of the bulldog wasn't nearby.
"Even though it's an off-leash park, you still have to maintain control of your dog," he said. "It's inappropriate to turn it lose and let it run willy-nilly."
Lawrence said the owner of the bulldog faces citations of animal nuisance and dog-at large --tickets totaling more than $850.
But he said there won't be any criminal charges, and law enforcement won't take the bulldog away.
He did, however, say the owners should consider taking action.
"They might want to look at their situation and decide they want to have their dog euthanized, because it's a tremendous risk," Lawrence said.
He said the dog's owner told police she didn't know her bulldog was aggressive and hadn't been in previous fights.
"The victim dog owner was extremely distraught, the aggressive dog owner was also extremely distraught," Lawrence said. "It was a horrible accident, and it's too bad it occurred."
Signs on the entrance of the park clearly forbid aggressive dogs. Bend Park and Rec officials told NewsChannel 21 that dogs who act aggressively can be permanently banned, and their owners could face trespassing charges if they continue to use the parks.
Dog owners who frequent Pine Nursery Park said aside from the occasional tussle, dog fights are rare.
"A little scratch here and there, but nothing lethal," said dog owner Max Adams.
Others said the tragedy takes away from the experience, and that they shouldn't have to constantly monitor their dogs.
"One of the benefits about coming here is to let them go," said a woman with two dogs. "We have beagles, and we can just let them go."
With summer around the corner, Lawrence said the parks will get a lot busier. While he said some dog fights are inevitable, courtesy and communication are key.
"If you have a dog that is boisterous, keep it on a leash," he said. "And maybe check with those around you, 'Is it going to be troublesome if I turn my dog loose?"