A dog who attacked and seriously injured three members of its family in Australia had to be shot by police.
The dog, which was a blue heeler, was a rescue, and was usually very calm and happy, according to the family.
Owners Steven and Michelle Quail and their 18-year-old daughter live in Perth in Western Australia, and had recently got Ace the dog neutered. On the evening of July 10, they called the police as Ace was attacking them. When the police arrived, the family were barricaded in another room, and had bites all over their bodies.
According to local news outlet News7, Steven had multiple bites on his neck, chin and one arm, Michelle was bitten several times on one leg, and their daughter had various bite wounds on her arms. They all went to Rockingham General Hospital for medical treatment afterwards.
“It will take a long time to get over this, we’re still in shock,” Michelle told News7. “It was just horrific, I’ve never been so scared in my life, to see the dog lunge at Steve, at my daughter and at me. There was blood everywhere. It was a bloodbath.”
When Michelle went to let the police in, she was attacked again by the dog, Rockingham Police officer-in-charge Ian Francis told News7.
“They were met at the house by distressed family members who could clearly see they’d been attacked,” he said. “It was at that point the family dog had come back into the area where the family members were and attacked the wife of the home in front of the police officer. Given there were already significant injuries to other people in the home, the police officer had to draw and discharge his firearm to reduce the threat to that family member.”
The police officer fired at the dog twice in an attempt to stop the attack, but this was unsuccessful, so the officer fired a third shot to euthanize the dog.
Francis told News7 that the cone around the dog’s neck, which he was wearing to recover from his neutering operation, possibly saved the family from further injury and blood loss.
“[The cone] probably reduced the ability of the dog to bite harder,” he said.
According to LiveScience, there are around five million dog-bite cases reported per year in the US with roughly 30 to 40 people dying from their injuries. While the majority of these cases involve the dogs attacking strangers or intruders, occasionally a dog will attack its owners.
Sean Wensley, Senior Veterinary Surgeon at the People’s Dispensary for Sick Animals, told the BBC that dogs may attack and act aggressively when they feel scared or threatened.
“The motivation for lots of dog bites is fear,” he said. “Others are territorial—if they’re guarding something that they highly value, or defending their favorite resting place, their bed… Or if they’ve learned to defend, say, a dog bowl—that can result in aggression.”