Owner Samantha Graham saying goodbye on Thursday.
The Australian Veterinary Association has slammed Victorian laws which led to two innocent dogs being euthanased.
The dogs, named Bear and Kooda, were put down under the state's new dangerous dog laws in Shepparton on Thursday after their owners lost a lengthy legal battle to save their lives.
The dogs did not do anything wrong but were destroyed after a local council officer identified them as pit bull crosses, despite owners Nathan Laffan and Samantha Graham's claims they were bred from a bull mastiff cross American bulldog and a staffie cross ridgeback.
AVA Victoria president Susan Maastricht said the case showed how some dogs could end up as "scapegoats" under the laws.
“‘Bear’ and ‘Kooda’ were impounded because they look like pit bull crosses,” Dr Maastricht said.
"This is exactly why we were opposed to the legislation from the outset."
"Not only will it fail to prevent dog bites, innocent dogs can clearly end up being scapegoats because of the way they look.”
Mr Laffan and Ms Graham were the first Victorians to challenge the dog laws - introduced last September after the fatal mauling of Melbourne toddler Ayen Chol - in the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT).
At the centre of the Cobram couple's case against Moira Shire Council, which they lost in May, was a statutory declaration from a local breeder saying the dogs came from a bull mastiff cross American bulldog and a staffie cross ridgeback.
The legislation provided guidelines for councils on how to identify pit bulls based on key markers including muscular build, head profile and size-to-weight ratio, Victoria’s Agriculture Minister Peter Walsh said.
“To help councils enforce the law, the coalition government introduced visual standards to help council officers correctly identify pit bull-type dogs and provided training for council officers in use of the standard,” he said.
Dr Maastricht said if Bear and Kooda fit the standards then it was most likely they were pit bull crosses, but there still was a chance the council officer could have been mistaken.
"To some degree there is the potential for subjectivity," she said.
Identifying pit bulls could also be problematic because all pit bulls were technically cross-bred, she said.
"You could have a litter of these pups and all of them could look completely different," she said.
Sources: Australian Veterinary Association, Victoria Agriculture Minister Peter Walsh
Author: Emily O'Keefe. News editor: Henri Paget.