By Mitchell Clarke
More than 200,000 people have signed a petition to Cardinia Shire Council to save a Staffy that was involved in a horrifying dog attack in Pakenham.
‘Hero’ the Staffy was walking on a leash with his owner Claudia Harrison and her young son on Tuesday 5 November, when three unleashed dogs from a nearby property came bounding over.
Sadly, Coco the Dachshund was killed as a result of the attack.His owner took to Facebook, and a since deleted post was shared over 300,000 times.
As news of the horrifying attack spread globally, Emma Douglas from Tarneit in Melbourne’s west, watched on as people called for the animal to be euthanised.
“From day dot, I was backing Claudia and the Staffy because he was on a lead and was protecting his owners,” Ms Douglas said.
“I was copping a lot of hate from people who were saying he was dangerous and needed to be euthanised so I thought if I’m going to cop all this hate, I need to use my voice for something productive.”
During a quiet moment at work, Ms Douglas looked up how to start a petition and within an hour, it had received thousands of signatures.
“I’ve been in shock with how viral this has gone,” she laughed.
“I just couldn’t sit back and do nothing while a dog could potentially be put to sleep for protecting his family.
“I’ve got dogs and I’d hope if I was in that sort of situation that my dog would protect me.”
Ms Douglas said Hero was unfairly portrayed early on, claiming the other dogs were the instigators.
“This year people are against Staffy’s, a few years ago it was Pitbull’s, there is always going to be a different dog being vilified.
“It all comes down to how you bring up your dog. It doesn’t matter what breed they are. I’ve owned big dogs and little dogs and the little dogs have been far more likely to try and bite someone.”
While Emma has never met any of the parties involved in the Pakenham incident, she has made contact with Ms Harrison.
“I contacted her so she knew I did the petition and that I care and that someone was supporting her,” Ms Douglas said.
“She was so appreciative that someone was actually in her corner.”
Ms Douglas has sent Cardinia Shire Council messages on Facebook but claims they’ve seen the messages and haven’t responded.
“I hope this petition opens their eyes,” she said.
“I just really want to emphasise the fact that there are other alternatives to Hero being put to sleep, whether that be wearing a muzzle when out in public or behavioural training, there are options.”
Given the circumstances of the incident, Ms Douglas has said that if Hero is to be put to sleep, she believes it’s only fair for the other two dogs to also face the same fate.
“I’m the last person to ever want an animal put down, I would really hate for it to come to that.”
The incident has been felt so widespread that Emma received a document of the council’s laws and regulations from a person in New Zealand.
“This is how far it’s gone. Someone from New Zealand couldn’t sleep and decided to research all their local laws,” she said.
“Hero in my opinion should be backed by those laws.”
The Harrison family have since consulted a lawyer who has been contacted for comment.
Cardinia Shire Council confirmed on Friday 8 November they were still investigating the incident.