A woman killed by her dog in her Canberra home had warned friends the animal was dangerous, but had refused to part with it as he had "taken a bullet" for her during a violent home invasion earlier this year.
In text messages sent this month to a close friend, Tania Klemke described the dog, which is understood to be similar to a pit bull, as her "best friend".
Police shot the animal dead when they were called to Ms Klemke's Watson home about 3.40am Wednesday after neighbours heard a man at the property screaming for help.
The dog attacked police as they attempted to perform first aid on Ms Klemke, a mother of three aged in her 40s, but she died at the scene.
The man was taken to hospital with non-life-threatening bite wounds to the leg. He was believed to have been visiting at the time and was in a stable condition on Wednesday afternoon.
Ms Klemke's son, Cody Baker, paid tribute to his mother on Wednesday.
"My mum was a beautiful and honest person," he said.
"She had the biggest heart and always did anything she possibly could for the people she loved and cared for."
A long-time friend said Ms Klemke seemed a little afraid of the dog and had taken to keeping it inside after it nearly attacked her neighbours.
But she had also recounted how the dog had been shot in the ear while "defending" her from a group of people who stormed her Watson house and assaulted her in March.
Police confirmed they had attended the same house where Wednesday's fatal attack took place earlier this year, but investigations were ongoing.
Ms Klemke had recently warned friends not to visit her at home as her dog "had trust issues" and would likely attack. A broken back fence meant it couldn't be left outside.
"The last person who tried coming in ... ended [up] in hospital with 42 stitches," she wrote in a text.
City Services Minister Meegan Fitzharris confirmed police called rangers to the house about the same dog in late August after it attacked a visitor but it was not known if it had been declared as dangerous.
However Ms Fitzharris said the dog was "clearly" dangerous, given it had killed its carer.
Detective Acting Superintendent Tony Crocker said no officers had been injured during Wednesday's attack and Ms Klemke's family had been notified.
Police are investigating the death.
Neighbour Dieu Do described the terrifying moment a dog she believed to be from Ms Klemke's property had scaled her fence and charged at her two young children late last year.
"Even this year, I often hear [a dog] growling near my window, so I always lock up," she said. "I'm afraid for my boys."
Neighbours called police on Wednesday after they were woken in the middle of the night to the sounds of a man bellowing for help.
Several people expressed their shock at the attack on their "usually quiet street" but said they had often heard a dog growling and barking at the property in recent months.
One neighbour said he was "glad the dog was gone" as he also had young children at home and another local said she was frightened to walk by the house due to dogs on the property.
"It's horrific, especially that sort of death," she said. "It's terrifying."
Ms Fitzharris confirmed Wednesday's attack took place at a Housing ACT property.
Police will prepare a report for the coroner.
A Transport Canberra and City Services spokesman said there had been 389 reported dog attacks in the territory during the 2016-17 financial year, and 14 dogs had been declared dangerous.
Dog attacks in Canberra this year
- September 18: Three dangerous dogs are returned to an Amaroo home after killing a Cavalier King Charles named Daisy in July.
- August 6: A 12-year-old poodle, JP, was bitten on the neck and the head by two off-lead pit bulls while running with his owner.
- August 5: Two puppies, Lucky and Lady, survived a vicious mauling from three large dogs that jumped the fence of their Wanniassa backyard by crawling into the laundry via their dog flap.
- March 20: A police officer was bitten by a dog while attempting to arrest a dangerous driver at her home in Kambah.
- January 31: Thirteen-year-old Pomeranian, Buzz, dies after being attacked by three dogs on a public footpath at Yerrabi Pond.