PENALTIES for irresponsible dog owners whose animals attack or bite others are likely to be doubled to more than $27,000 or 12 months in jail under a dangerous dog crackdown.
The revelation follows a terrifying attack that forced a teenager to stab a frenzied dog to protect his pet labrador in his backyard.
Kurt Smart, 13, told how he watched in horror as his neighbour's dog smashed through his fence, mauling and killing his dog, Cougar.
He tried to fend the dog off with a bed post and planks of wood during the ordeal, before stabbing it three times with a large kitchen knife.
The vicious dog only relented after about an hour, when his cherished pet was limp, he said.
"I was really scared and angry," he said of the March 20 incident in Melton.
"He went straight for Cougar's neck. He was tearing Cougar to bits.
"He tried to go for me at one stage but I shut the door. I was very very lucky."
Police yesterday ruled out laying charges against Kurt after the teen initially feared he would face action.
Cougar was taken to a vet but died on the way, while the other dog was destroyed with consent from its owner.
The Government is expected to introduce tougher laws by mid-year aimed at phasing out restricted breeds such as pit bulls, which are deemed dangerous dogs.
The new laws are likely to include the doubling of penalties against irresponsible owners of restricted breeds from the existing maximum fine of $13,610 or six months' imprisonment.
"We are working to phase out dangerous and restricted-breed dogs such as American pit bull terriers, and subsequently pit bull cross-breeds and this legislation will ensure owners of dangerous dogs still in Victoria obey tough restrictions or suffer severe consequences," said Agriculture Minister Joe Helper.
In 2005, the Government banned breeding and importing American pit bull terriers.
Lost Dogs' Home managing director Dr Graeme Smith said all types of pit bulls should be subject to the same restrictions.
In a separate attack, a 13-year-old boy was hospitalised on Monday after his Staffordshire cross broke through his fence in Craigieburn and killed a neighbour's pet dog.