Dog lovers have leapt to the defence of a 'killer' breed after a pet Staffy mauled a five-week-old baby boy to death as his parents slept.
The six-year-old American Staffordshire terrier killed the baby in his home in Kariong, on the NSW Central Coast, in the early hours of Sunday morning.
Paramedics arrived at the scene about 2.18am, but the infant could not be revived. The family pet was euthanised several days later.
Residents claimed American Staffies have been responsible for a spate of viscous attacks in the area.
The horrific tragedy has reignited debate about vicious breeds, with some experts warning such powerful dogs should never be within three metres of a child.Insurance Loans Mortgage Attorney Credit Lawyer
The baby's death has also divided the internet, with Staffy lovers describing the dogs as 'wonderful family pets' and placing the blame on the owners instead.
Pictured: A distraught man outside a home where a newborn baby boy was mauled to death by a Staffy
'So sick of breed shaming when it comes to Staffies,' one owner wrote on Facebook.
'We have a staff and all he ever wants is to love and be loved. Staffies are beautiful dogs and if raised right, make for the best companions. It all comes down to owners not raising dog right.'
Another owner added: 'It's not the breed it's how they are raised, I have a American Staffy and she is so gentle and a big sook wouldn't hurt a fly.'
A third wrote: 'We've had three while the kids were growing up and they had the most beautiful nature. You give them love and respect and they will give it back unconditionally.'
Others put the onus on the dog owners.
'Ban people who are not capable of looking after their pets,' one wrote.
Another added: 'With dog ownership comes responsibility the tragedy could have been avoided if owners knew their dog.'Insurance Loans Mortgage Attorney Credit Lawyer
The death renewed calls to ban staffys from Australia. Dog expert says some pets need more training (stock image of a staffy)
There were some calls for the breed to be banned.
'Ban them. They're trouble makers,' one wrote.
'Poor baby. Ban the breed, imprison the owners,' wrote another.
Canine experts said the dog involved in Sunday's tragedy should never have been near the baby it 'viewed as prey'.
However, they insisted specific dog breeds, like Staffies, were not inherently dangerous, instead saying individual dogs were 'unstable' and should be put down.
This is despite some types of dogs being bred to hunt and kill, and being overrepresented in fatal attacks - prompting calls to ban them.
Pictured: First responders at a home on the Central Coast after the five-week-old boy was killed. Canine experts warned dogs should never be left with small children
Four weeks before the infant was mauled, the same dog dragged a spaniel named Arrow under the backyard fence and viciously killed him.
The local council told the owners to take their pet for a temperament assessment. But a month later, the little boy was dead.
Dog behavioural expert Nathan McCredie explained that to a dog, such a small child was not thought of as a human, but instead a catch.
'That dog would have had no idea the boy was a human - babies are a different size, they smell different, they scream and squeal,' he told Daily Mail Australia.
'To the Staffy, it looks like prey.'
Mr McCredie, who runs canine training service Dog Gone Mad, said any such animal - especially one with a violent history - should never