A 72-year-old man stabbed a pit bull to death at Vancouver's Kitsilano beach Wednesday after the dog attacked his pet pug.

The incident happened around 1 p.m. PT when the pug's owner was approached by a woman, who was walking her pit bull in the beach park.

But when the dogs approached each other, the larger pit bull suddenly bit down on the neck of the smaller dog.

Unable to separate the animals, the pug's owner pulled out a folding knife he was carrying and stabbed the pit bull, killing it.

The pug was rushed to a veterinary hospital for stitches to its neck. Animal control officers also attended the scene.

Marcie Moriarty with the BC SPCA said the organization is conducting a necropsy and will be interviewing the elderly man.

"[We want to] see how exactly the dog died, whether he died instantaneously, or [in] pain and suffering," said Moriarty.

"It will be important to find out more details about the circumstances, because of course there is preservation of safety and personal safety issues and self defence."

Pit bull ban no answer, says SPCA

Moriarty said despite the incident, the SPCA does not support calls for legislation that might ban or restrict pit bulls, adding that studies show that banning specific breeds doesn't mean you ban bad behaviour.

"What happens if that happened to be a German shepherd, a golden retriever, a cane corso?" said Moriarty.

"I think what we need to emphasize is effective dangerous-dog legislation that puts responsibility both on animal owners and protects public safety, and make no mistake, all the evidence shows, a pit bull ban absolutely does not do that."

Police say they are speaking to both dog owners, and both are co-operating with investigators. No charges are being considered. 

Dog walkers such as Saffron Conway, who was walking her dog Misty in Kits Beach Park hours after the dog attack, found the incident troubling.

"It's sad that it happened, that the dog attacked, and it ended up getting killed. It's sort of disturbing."