A German woman identified only as Lezime K. bought a staffordshire terrier named Chico eight years ago, before her ex-husband—who had attacked her with an axe and left her wheelchair-ridden—was released from prison. She told neighbors she got the dog because she was afraid for her and her four children's lives, but Chico ended up being more than the family could handle—and last Tuesday, Lezime, 52, and son Liridon, 27, were found dead after having been attacked by Chico in their home, the Guardian reports. The dog was due to be put down, but may have its life spared after an outcry led to protests and more than 264,000 people signed a petition calling for the dog to get a second chance because authorities should have removed it from the family's home years ago.
After taking notice of Chico's "permanent aggression" and the trouble the family had with the dog, a social worker—who said in a report that Chico had apparently been "trained to be a fighting machine"—arranged for Liridon to bring Chico to a trainer. That trainer recommended that the family bring the dog to authorities, who would have decided whether they were allowed to keep the animal. But the family never showed, and no follow-up was ever done. Nor was much done to address neighbors' multiple complaints about Chico's barking. A city spokesperson has now admitted mistakes were made and that had the proper steps been taken, the dog would have been removed from the family's home. Authorities are looking into the possibility of sending Chico to a facility for dogs with behavioral issues. Hundreds of people have even offered to adopt Chico. (Read more animal attack stories.)