The death of a chihuahua after an incident at Altona dog beach has prompted a plea for pet owners to be in control of their animals in off-lead areas.

Lee McAndrews and his family were with their 20-month old chihuahua, Keni, when a husky approached on Good Friday.

“Keni was right by our feet and just out of nowhere the husky almost came through us and just grabbed at her, shook her.

“[My wife] Hazel and my son, Sam, managed to sort of grab the husky and managed to get Keni out of the dog’s grips.

“Sam picked her up; he could tell immediately she was in distress.”

Mr McAndrews said the husky’s owners came and took their dog away, and together they all went to a vet in Kensington.

“They took her in straight away to try and revive her but we could tell essentially that she’d gone by the time we got there,” he said.

“The owner has taken responsibility. He was at the vet so he saw the devastation that we were all going through.”

Mr McAndrews said his message to dog owners would be to be fully aware of where their dog was at all times while at the beach.

“A lot of people go there and let their dog exert some energy and don’t really watch the dog,” he said.

“If you’re not in full control of your dog and you can’t recall them when they’re off the lead, you need to keep them on a lead.”

Hobsons Bay council is investigating the incident.

Hobsons Bay mayor Jonathon Marsden said pet owners were entirely responsible for the actions of their animals.

“In designated off-leash areas, owners need to have effective verbal control,” he said.

“It is recommended all dogs, regardless of their breed, are properly socialised to ensure the safety of our community.”