1. “It was complete kill mode.” A man is dead and his wife is injured after a violent dog attack in Melbourne.
An American Staffordshire terrier and a vulnerable victim have again proven a deadly combination with a 61-year-old Melbourne man the latest person killed by the dog breed.
Leo Biancofiore was mauled to death in his suburban Mill Park home on Wednesday night, with witnesses recounting how his desperate wife Donata, also injured and hospitalised, tried to stop the attack.
Neighbours were alerted to the dog attack about 6.40pm when they heard the terrified screams of Donata, also known as Donna.
Neighbours told The Age they arrived to distract the dog by banging on their fence and using a hose, to no avail.
They were too afraid to jump their fences, believing they too would be attacked.
“He was defenceless,” an neighbour named Alex said. “It was vicious, it was complete kill mode. It was guarding him like prey.”
When police arrived on scene they fired shots to try and prevent the mauling. It was too late for Leo who died at the scene.
Leo regularly used crutches and a wheelchair, neighbours said on Thursday. It is believed he was on crutches inside the house when the attack started and ended up outside.
American Staffordshire terriers are believed responsible for four fatal dog attacks in Melbourne and NSW this year.
Victims include a 51-year-old man who suffered a medical condition before being attacked. A 72-year-old woman and a man aged 40 were killed in other attacks.
The latest killer dog, reportedly called Junior, belonged to Leo’s son and has now been euthanised with the consent of his daughter-in-law.
“It’s an older dog, it’s quite familiar with all of the members of the family and my understanding is it’s out of character for the dog,” Senior Sergeant Glenn Parker said.
A neighbour said there had never been trouble with the animal before.
“There was no stopping it. It’s a giant pit bull,” he told The Herald Sun.
Another witness said the dog was “going nuts”.
The dog was not registered with the local City of Whittlesea council and there had been no prior reports to the council about the dog.
“The dog was euthanised last night and council will continue to assist Victoria Police with their investigation,” said council spokeswoman Liana Thompson.
RSPCA Victoria’s Tegan McPherson said there were several causes of dog attacks, but breed wasn’t necessarily one of them.
“Breed alone is not a reliable predictor of aggressive behaviour,” she told ABC Radio.