By Brendan Rees
A man has told how he watched his pet chihuahua helplessly die after it was “torn to pieces” after allegedly being attacked by a mastiff cross labrador.
The Cranbourne man said the dog continued its savage attack even after neighbours hit it several times with the handle of an axe.
Residents of Dearing Avenue said they lived in fear of the dog and that the council had known it was a danger for more than a year.
Ashley O’Brien was walking his 10-month-old chihuahua on Dearing Avenue, Cranbourne, about 5.45pm on Tuesday 31 October when he and his dog were attacked.
He said the other dog bit him on the arms as he was holding his dog.
“He grabbed hold of my dog and wouldn’t let go,” adding “it tore him to pieces like a crocodile”.
Mr O’Brien said he “barely got to three houses” when the other dog spotted him walking his dog from across the road.
“It was on its four legs shaking it, just wouldn’t let go, clamped down, never seen anything like it before.”
He described the dog has having “psycho eyes” and thought his dog was “gone for sure.”
The 41-year-old truck driver said he tried to hang onto his dog, but the pain from the dog’s jaws was unbearable.
A neighbour named Greg, who wished not to reveal his surname, said he was in his backyard when he heard someone yelling for help.
“It was literally on our nature strip so I jumped on top of him, not thinking that I could’ve been bitten too. It had hold of the dog and that’s all it wanted.”
Mr O’Brien said he was scared during the ordeal. “As soon as my neighbours heard me shout ‘help’ four of them came out and starting punching and kicking the dog.”
He said one of the neighbours also used a garden hose to squirt water down the dog’s mouth, before someone brought out an axe and starting hitting it on the head with the handle.
“The third time it let go … dazed for about 10 seconds and went back to the house.”
“I just stood back because I was just in shock. I was pouring out blood.”
Greg said: “We got it off it but it was all too late.”
“It took a few good hits to the head, and when it let go of the other dog it just went home. The little dog was just prey to it,” he said.
Mr O’Brien said one of the neighbours took his dog to the vet while he was checked by ambulance.
He said he was later distraught to watch his dog die after waiting in the vet clinic for more than an hour.
“They put him down. They put him on the oxygen and stuff like that but he started bleeding through the mouth.”
Grieving the loss of his friend, he described his chihuahua as “great company.”
“You can understand old age but you can’t understand that.”
Greg, who believed the dog was a pit bull, said the attack was a “shame”.
“If they (council) had done something about this 12 to 18 months ago, it wouldn’t have come to this.”
Another neighbour, who wished to remain anonymous, said the attacking dog had “quite an aggressive nature” with a history of jumping fences.
“We were always frightened. We were always intimidated,” she said.
Mr O’Brien said he would like to see the mastiff cross labrador “off the street.”
He said it was lucky a child was not harmed: “It could’ve been a kid. It was Halloween too, so there were kids walking around the street.”
“I wouldn’t want to see it again either, it was horrible.”
He said he would be off work for two weeks after receiving eight stiches in his right hand, one stitch in his left hand and a crushed fingernail.
He said the ranger told him the dog, which was surrendered by the owners to Casey Council last week, would not be “re-homed”.
Casey Council Manager for Safer Communities Caroline Bell said no further comment would be made on incident, which was reported to council.
Ms Bell said between 1 October 2016 and 31 August 2017, council received 215 reports of dog attacks, with 150 on animals and 65 on people.
She said the majority these were classed as minor.
“There have been cases of serious injuries on both people and animals and several reports of animal deaths as a result of dog attack.”
She reminded all dog owners to ensure their dogs were securely confined to their property.