By Rowan Forster
A Pakenham family has embarked on a quest for justice after their beloved puppy was allegedly butchered to death during a savage dog attack.
Amigo, 1, was massacred by three large dogs in June, when the pack infiltrated a back fence.
The Niero family, mourning the sudden and horrific demise of their pet Chihuahua, have slammed Cardinia Shire.
After a lengthy investigation, the council refused to take any action against the owners of the three dogs – citing a “lack of evidence”.
For Claude Niero, it isn’t about revenge or having the dogs destroyed.
At the very least, the Parman Avenue father is seeking an apology from the owners.
Adding to the ordeal, Mr Niero and his family were on a once in a lifetime trip in the Philippines when they received the horrific news.
They were deprived of the opportunity to bury their cherished dog.
“This was a real trauma and we were supposed to be enjoying ourselves on holiday,” he said.
“Our son was constantly bawling his eyes out – we were all crying.
“He (Amigo) was only a year and a half old.”
He said the incident continues to rip at the heart of his son, Harvey, who adored Amigo.
“He cries every time Amigo is mentioned,” Mr Niero said.
Days prior to the incident, Amigo was left in the care of family-friend Alice Watson.
Ms Watson’s daughters arrived home to discover what had happened.
“They walked through the backyard and Amigo was lying on his side, almost dead,” Mr Niero recalled.
“Naturally, they were hysterical.”
Ms Watson’s dog was also in the backyard at the time but was not injured.
In a statement to council rangers, Ms Watson said the three large dogs had broken a hole in her fence, attacking Amigo.
“I could see he wasn’t breathing and I touched him and he was stiff, turning stiff,” she outlined.
“Eyes and mouth were open, tongue had flipped to side of mouth with gravity. “He was wet all over and I knew he was dead.”
Council launched a probe into the attack, but later conceded that it was unable to prosecute due to “insufficient evidence to establish which animal attacked Amigo”.
When council rangers first responded to the property, they seized the dogs from the backyard and incarcerated them at the pound for several days.
The owners were subsequently charged pound fees and issued an infringement for one of the dogs being unregistered.
While the family was heartbroken, Mr Niero said the outcome could have been even more disastrous.
“What if there was a baby on the other side of the fence that was crying and annoying these dogs,” he said.
It comes as another stark reminder for residents to ensure their animals are secured.
Cardinia Shire said that these outcomes are common, particularly when no witnesses are present.