ST. LOUIS COUNTY, Mo. – A St. Louis County woman said her dog was mauled to death while on a walk, but animal control has released the killer dog back to its owner.

Jane Fay adopted Lexy, a Shih Tzu, several years ago. It was a love-at-first-sight relationship.

“She was just a great little dog,” Fay said. “She’d go boating with us.”

They loved to walk outside. On May 15, Lexy and Fay’s walk took a drastic turn.

“All of a sudden, there was this Great Dane I’d never seen before, unleashed,” she said. “It was running down the street toward me.”

St. Louis County records revealed the Great Dane’s owner told authorities the dog ran out of the house.

“I opened the door, Kaiser ran to the street (accidentally), and we heard a scream,” the owner wrote.

Fay said the dog went right for Lexy.

“When I saw Lexy, my little eight-pound dog, in this Great Dane’s mouth being chewed to death,” she said. “I mean, my God, I can’t get that vision out of my brain.”

Lexy died from five puncture wounds on the left, two puncture wounds on the right, and one larger laceration on the abdomen.

Shortly after the attack, Animal Control took the Great Dane, named Kaiser, but they later returned him to his owners.

St. Louis County Department of Public Health Director Dr. Kanika Cunningham issued a statement confirming that Animal Control declared the dog a dangerous animal.

“Kaiser’s owners cannot allow the dog to be outside the home’s interior without a leash,” Cunningham said. “They also agreed to a requirement that they post a warning sign on the house declaring that a dangerous dog resides within.”

Fay thinks the county is falling short of protecting its neighborhood and believes the Great Dane should be euthanized.

“If my dog killed another dog, I would gracefully put it down,” Fay said. “What if it were to hurt a child next?”

Animal Control disagrees, though, and says it’s following the county’s dangerous dog ordinance.

“If the Great Dane is ever found to be outside of the home’s interior and not under control of its owner using a leash, the animal is subject to impoundment and may ultimately face euthanasia,” Cunningham said.

Fay said St. Louis County Council members should reconsider the ordinance.

“Who makes the law for St. Louis County Animal Control? Maybe they need to be revised,” she said.

In the meantime, she can’t even think about adopting another dog.

“I couldn’t rescue a tiny little dog. I couldn’t rescue Lexy,” Fay said.

The owner of the Great Dane declined an on-camera interview but said by phone that something like this has never happened before and that they’re also working to install a fence.