Police fired several shots to scare off a family dog that attacked and killed a man and left his wife badly injured in a horrifying attack in Melbourne’s north.
Victoria Police said the dog, believed to be an American Staffordshire terrier, was attacking 61-year-old Leo Biancofiore in the backyard of the Mill Park home when they arrived about 6.40pm on Wednesday.
Mr Biancofiore died at the scene.
His 58-year-old wife, Donna,was taken to hospital with non-life-threatening injuries. She had tried to fend the dog off her husband, who was on crutches.
The dog remained inside the house for hours after as police and a ranger tried to capture it.
The animal was reportedly removed from the house about 10.30pm on Wednesday.
On Thursday, neighbours told the ABC of hearing screams and gunshots from the house the previous night.
They said the dog was called Junior and belonged to the couple’s son Mark. It lived at the Biancofiores’ house.
One neighbour told the ABC the attack was a “tragedy waiting to happen”, as the dog was sometimes aggressive.
Senior Sergeant Glenn Parker said Mr Biancofiore’s daughter-in-law gave consent to destroy the animal.
“The dog belongs to the occupant’s son, the dog’s been here for quite some time,” he said, according to The Herald Sun.
“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.”
Neighbours told the ABC Mr Biancofiore was a “nice and lovely” man who “spoke to everyone”.
He had been unwell for some time and used a wheelchair and a mobility scooter to get around.
Carmen Baldwin, who lives nearby, said the news came as a shock.
“It’s very sad, he’s a lovely bloke,” she told the ABC.
Ms Biancofiore is in a stable condition in the Royal Melbourne Hospital.