A pit bull in Australia will not be put down after police determined he saved a young boy from his mother, who was attempting to drown the child.
The mother, who is not identified in reports due to legal reasons, took her 9-year-old boy and 5-year-old boy to the Murray River in Moama, New South Wales on Thursday. Witnesses said in court that the night before the mother said she “had to drown my babies.”
The 5-year-old boy drowned during the incident, but a pit bull named Buddy intervened to save the 9-year-old boy. The dog mauled both the boy and his mother.
The 9-year-old boy was flown to a hospital in Melbourne, where he’s currently in the ICU but in stable condition. He underwent two surgeries to treat injuries caused by the dog bites.
On Monday, the woman was formally charged with murder of the 5-year-old. She was previously charged with the attempted murder of the 9-year-old on Friday.
According to the Sydney Morning Herald, Buddy was seized on police orders following the incident on Thursday. The outlet reports that the owners of the dog feared he would be put down.
But on Monday, New South Wales police deemed that the dog was acting to protect the boy from his mother, and that the department would not seek to put down Buddy.
"The NSW Police have since advised us that their investigations to date have deemed that the dog in question was responding to extreme circumstances … it is likely that the dog was acting in reasonable defense of the nine-year-old boy," Murray River Council interim general manager Margot Stork said, according to the Sydney Morning Herald.
An online petition to “Help save Buddy” received more than 50,000 signatures between Saturday and Monday.
“I just want to tell everyone that our boy buddy is coming home,” the petition now reads. “We all can't thank use enough for all ur support in sharing and help fundraise for him.” (sic all)
Alex Hider is a writer for the E.W. Scripps National Desk. Follow him on Twitter @alexhider.