The dog which bit a nine-year-old boy and his mother, who is accused of trying to drown her two children in the Murray River, will not be put down, with police suggesting it was trying to save the child.
NSW Police has advised the Murray River Council that the pit bull cross was responding to extreme circumstances and was likely acting in “reasonable defence” of the boy who remains in hospital in Melbourne.
His 27-year-old mother on Monday was charged with murdering his five-year-old brother whose body was found in the river on Saturday.
She had previously been charged with the attempted murder of her nine-year-old son.
“NSW Police have advised council that they will not be seeking an order to destroy this animal,” council interim general manager Margot Stork told AAP in a statement.
The nine-year-old was found on Thursday evening with serious dog bite injuries before being taken to hospital.
The owners of the dog, named Buddy, launched an online petition demanding its return after it was taken by the council under a police order last week.
The dog had no history of biting anyone before the incident, the petition says.
“He has clearly seen a child in distress and attempted to help.”
The council said it had microchipped the dog and was working with its owners to register it and set up “appropriate conditions” to enable its return home.
The dog was well and being cared for in a council facility, it added.
“The owner has visited the dog at council’s facility and is working with us to ensure compliance with all obligations under the Companion Animals Act,” Ms Stork said.
NSW Police in a statement said it had confirmed the dog was not set on the child.