WARNING: Graphic content
A Staffordshire bull terrier has avoided being put down for killing another dog after over 200,000 people signed a petition demanding he be saved.
Hero was due to be killed after he mauled dachshund Coco to death in a park in Victoria, Australia, earlier this month.
Coco’s owner, Kashila Chintamunnee, claimed that Hero escaped and ran into the park before launching a vicious attack on her pet.
However, CCTV footage emerged that showed three smaller dogs attacking Hero, who was being walked on a leash, before the Staffy defended himself.
Now, after a public outcry at Hero’s death sentence, Cardinia Council said “no further action” will be taken against the dog.
Emma McLean, who started the change.org petition, wrote: “Three UNLEASHED dogs ran up and attacked on leash Hero.
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“Hero's owner was doing the right thing, walking her dog on a leash in a leash-only area.
“Coco, a dog half the size of Hero (as well as two other dogs) attacked Hero, Coco was a small breed and it is inevitable that in an attack a larger dog would cause extensive damage to a small dog.”
Describing the incident in the park, Hero’s owner, Claudia Harrison, added: “The other smaller dogs were attacking my dog and they kept snapping at him, that's when he got hold of one of them and I couldn't get him off.”
Mrs Harrison's lawyer Michael Faltermaier told the Cranbourne Leader: “He is indeed a hero and had to act to protect his owners.”
Graphic photos taken at the scene of the attack showed blood strewn over the floor while Hero’s fur was stained red.
Mrs Harrison said she was forced to grab her six-year-old son and jump on a picnic table to avoid the dogs while Hero defended himself.
Ms Chintamunnee, who posted photos of her clothes and body covered in blood on Facebook, claimed that Coco had escaped from her house and “sniffed” Hero before he was attacked.
Speaking of the aftermath, she told the Cranbourne Leader: “The dog had bitten too deep into Coco's main vessel as he had lost that much blood – I was drenched in his blood, that's how much there was.”
Mr Faltermaier said Mrs Harrison was deeply saddened by the death of Coco, adding that the incident was a reminder to keep an eye on children and pets at “all times”.