‘Hero’ wife’s desperate efforts to save dog attack victim
THE desperate neighbours of a man killed in a vicious dog attack said they leapt over the fence to help after hearing screams - but they were too late to save him.
Leo Biancofiore, 61, had been mauled to death by his son's dog Junior and was lying dead in the backyard of his Mill Park home after the horror unfolded around 7pm last night.
His wife Donata Biancofiore tried to save her disabled husband but could not fight off the American Staffordshire Terrier.
She survived, but sustained serious upper body injuries and was taken to the Royal Melbourne Hospital, where she remains in a stable condition.
Her husband was helpless to fend off the attack.
The couple's next door neighbour hailed Donata, also known as Donna, a hero.
"There was nothing we could do," he said. "We were hanging off the fence.
"She (Donata) was the real hero. She put her life of the line. She was trying to fight him off."
Radenko and Danielle Subotic said they thought someone was being murdered or beaten when they heard screams coming from the couple's Ancona Drv home last night.
"I heard the screaming from my backyard," Mrs Subotic said. "I saw him on the ground.
"The dog was on top of the body of the man (her neighbour)."
Mrs Biancofiore was screaming and trying to get the dog off her husband
"The lady, she tried to help," Mrs Subotic said. "She tried to get the dog off the body of the husband."
The adult Subotic children hosed the dog down, hoping it would snap out of its rampage.
Police arrived at the home, rushing through the Subotic residence and over the fence.
Mr Biancofiore had been using crutches and a wheelchair in recent weeks due to an injury, according to police.
"He was a completely dependent person," Mrs Subotic said. "He was unable to help himself."
Neighbours report seeing him out and about in a mobility scooter and said he walked with a limp.
Adriana Ackar, another neighbour, said Mr Biancofiore was kind to her children.
"He was a lovely, lovely man," she said. "Only last week, the kids kicked the ball over the fence and they went round and he was like yeah, yeah, I'll throw it over.
"He was always outside doing things."
SHOTS FIRED AT DOG
Police shot at the dog when they first arrived at the property to stop it further attacking the woman and other family members, with neighbours saying they heard two shots fired.
The animal, owned by Mr Biancofiore's son, was inside the house for several hours as police and a ranger tried to capture it.
Barking could be heard coming from the property before the dog was loaded into an animal control van shortly before 10.30pm.
A Victoria Police spokesman said the dog was believed to be an American Staffordshire Terrier and was being held by the council.
A neighbour who lives behind the property said he heard "deafening" screams.
"It's a freak accident," he said - holding his arm up to his waist to indicate the size of the dog.
Another said he tried to hose the dog with water when he heard screams coming from the house.
"There was no stopping it. It's a giant pit bull," he said.
"We've never had trouble with it before, but it barks whenever you walk past."
Neighbours told the Herald Sun the killer dog was the couple's adult son's dog but spent the majority of its life at their home.
A neighbour who wished to remain anonymous said she never liked the dog, and that it was always barking.
The daughter-in-law of the man who was attacked consented for the dog to be destroyed, Senior-Sergeant Glenn Parker told reporters last night.
He said it was unusual for the dog to attack.
"The dog belongs to the occupant's son, the dog's been here for quite some time," Sen-Sgt Parker said.
"He (the dog) will be taken to a veterinarian, and my understanding is that the owner of the dog has actually consented to that dog being put down.
"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."
Relatives were unable to enter the property because an investigation was underway after police shot at the dog.
One witness said: "The dog was going nuts."
Another said he was walking near the property when he heard gun shots and ran over to find police entering the yard.
He said he knew Mr Biancofiore, adding: "He was a nice bloke."
It is not yet clear what injuries he suffered in the incident. The circumstances of the dog attack were unclear.
A report will be prepared for the coroner.