DOG wardens have received death threats and been branded “murderers” and “scum” for putting a dangerous dog to sleep.

The foster family caring for Rocky - which previously mauled another dog to death - reported that the three-year-old Staffordshire Bull Terrier had tried to attack young children, their niece and nephew. It was one of two separate attacks.

Though he was muzzled, he had tried to bite one of the children’s necks, jabbing with his paws and growling loudly. It forced the family to call the wardens to take him away and he was put down the following day after extensive discussions with various authorities last month.

But a new petition which claimed the wardens acted “illegally”, started by the charity Staffie and Stray Rescue which was responsible for housing Rocky, has seen a lot of calls for the wardens to be sacked and even charged with murder. Others threatened the wardens and their families, arguing they should be “euthanised” and “ashamed of themselves”.

In July, Rocky had “torn apart” Jimmy the Yorkshire Terrier and subsequently injured pensioner Margaret Shore, while they were out walking in Moordown.

A spokesperson for the council, who asked not to be identified, told the Daily Echo the wardens have been left worried for their safety. “This petition has got to the point where there are personal attacks on individuals who are now concerned about going back out and doing their jobs, without people knowing what’s happened,” he said. “These are unfounded and inaccurate accusations being made against the council.

“Every effort had been made in conjunction with the charity and the family but the dog had shown an aggressive manner towards dogs and children and the decision was taken to euthanise the dog. Everyone took the same view in terms of public safety that it was the correct action to take.”

Rocky was said to be generally amicable but became anxious around other dogs. Calli Byrne, the charity’s founder, apologised for the unwanted attention the petition had attracted.“We wanted to speak to the council but we do not condone any abuse towards people doing their jobs. That was not our intention. We just wanted to let people know about what happened to Rocky. A lot of people loved Rocky, some who never had any issue with him at all. It was a real shock for us. My argument is still that something should have happened before he was euthanised. It’s something we would not consider unless there was no other option.”

Cllr David Smith, portfolio holder for community safety and environmental health, said: “Having discussed the issue with the officers, I am completely satisfied that they followed the proper process and fully support the action they have taken. It is not acceptable for anyone to subsequently level threats against council staff who were only acting in the best interests of the public. Decisions to euthanise any animals are taken very seriously, and on this occasion the case has been grossly misreported on social media to the extent where many have jumped to conclusions in the absence of virtually any of the facts.”