A dog that was facing death row for fatally mauling a dachshund in a Melbourne will not be euthanised following a “thorough investigation” by a local council.
Cardinia Council, which looks after the southeastern suburb of Pakenham, announced on Wednesday Hero the staffy had been found not at fault over the incident which unfolded earlier this month and “no further action” would taken.
"[The] council can confirm that in line with its legislative responsibilities under the Domestic Animals Act 1994 it has concluded a thorough investigation of the incident that occurred on Tuesday 5 November 2019 in Pakenham," a spokesperson said, according to the Pakenham Gazette.
The news was met with joy by Hero’s many supporters who had been campaigning for his life to spared, arguing the staffy had been attacked first by the dachshund plus another two dogs.
Following the horrific incident, photos went viral online of the gruesome aftermath of the fatal mauling, showing Hero covered in blood.
The images also showed the blood-splattered footpath where the dog fight took place in a Pakenham park and the owner of Coco –– the dachshund killed –– also covered in blood.
Coco’s owner claimed she had been walking the dachshund in the on-leash park when Hero set upon her dog and then his owner had walked away.
The story quickly sparked outrage online with media reporting on the story.
But Hero’s family quickly spoke out to refute this claim, arguing Coco along with another dachshund and a Labrador had escaped their yard and reportedly ran to the park where Hero was being walked on a lead by Claudia Harrison and her young son.
CCTV image then emerged which corroborated this version of events.
A petition was also started on change.org calling on Cardinia Council to abandon its plan to put Hero to sleep.
“Hero was defending himself and his family against three dogs attacking him,” the petition’s creator Emma McLean wrote on the page.
“This is a tragic incident but Hero was NOT the instigator.”
By the time the council announced Hero was not going to be euthanised more than 285,000 people had signed the petition.
“I am so grateful for each and every person that signed and shared the petition, as it made the world of difference,” Ms McLean wrote online on Wednesday.
“From all of us, the Harrisons and myself, THANK YOU EVERYONE (sic). This wouldn’t have been possible without all of your support.”
The family’s lawyer Michael Faltermaier told the Pakenham Gazette it was an “incredible result”.
“Having been a lawyer for almost 30 years, I’ve never seen a response to a case like this before,” Mr Faltermaier said.
“Justice for Hero has been achieved. He is indeed a Hero, because he acted to protect his owner in a very difficult and unfortunate situation.”
The lawyer added the family was “deeply saddened” by Coco’s death, which he said “could’ve been avoided”.
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