Is Darcie The Pug Guilty Or Innocent? An Investigation
He might look like a placid pooch, but this little pug is at the centre of a ferocious battle with a local council.
Three-year-old Darcie is accused of acting aggressively towards locals in Pakenham, south-east of Melbourne, and could be seized from his home for some pug shots.
But his owners, the Dalton family, claim their perfectly placid pooch is innocent.
"He's a ripper dog," mum Lauren told The Project.
"I know Darcie too well. He would not do such a thing."
Cardinia Council has informed Lauren and Ben Dalton and their children it intends to seize Darcie for "evidentiary purposes", including taking photos of him.
The council alleges Darcie "rushed" -- or acted aggressively -- towards a resident on May 1, and on two other occasions on May 8.
The Daltons claim the council has provided three "unclear still photos" of a black dog.
The family was overseas but offered CCTV photos proving Darcie was either locked in his outside pen or inside with a house sitter at the time of the alleged incidents.
Now, it appears the council is after Darcie's pug shot for evidence.
"I feel like it's a witch hunt to be honest," Lauren said.
In a statement to The Project, Cardinia Council said it has no intention to declare Darcie as a "Dangerous Dog".
"A Dangerous Dog, as outlined under the Act, is a dog that has caused serious injury or death to an animal or person and has been through a formal declaration process," it said.
"Council has received multiple reports alleging multiple offences under Section 29 of the Act, and confirms it is thoroughly and appropriately investigation these allegations."
The council said it has inspected the property, but did not see the dog at the time. As such, it has requested access to Darcie for "evidentiary purposes" but acknowledged the owners can refuse this request.
While the council said it has no intention to "impound or hold" Darcie, it will obtain a search warrant to pluck him from the home if the family refuses.
An online petition has attracted thousands of signatures to leave Darcie alone.
"He is a very, very good dog. He means the world to me," 11-year-old Jayden said.
Featured image: Change.org