A man saved the lives of a woman and child when he intervened in an attack by two dogs which then turned on him in an attack of “extreme ferocity”, an inquest has heard.
Colin Amatto, 40, rushed to help a woman and child who had been bitten by two dogs inside a house in the western Sydney suburb of Tregear on the afternoon of January 24, 2019.
The proud man Yuin acted “bravely” when he intervened and caused the dogs to turn on him.
Counsel assisting the inquest, David Kell SC, told the court that one of the dogs then “savagely mutated” Mr Amatto in an “attack of extreme ferocity” before the other dog joined in.
Both dogs were described as having pit bull characteristics, but an expert identified them as Staffordshire bull terriers.
The 40-year-old never recovered from “very extensive injuries” which amounted to more than 80 wounds to the head, body and limbs.
Colin Amatto (pictured) was beaten to death near Mount Druitt in 2019
Colin (pictured being treated by paramedics) did not recover from his horrific injuries and died five weeks later.
The dog’s owners returned to the house and found blood covering the living room walls, floors and the kitchen door.
Kell said the owners reported that the two dogs were “covered in blood and had very big eyes” after the attack.
According to the investigation, Mr. Amatto was lying on the kitchen floor, covered in his own blood and barely conscious.
“I can’t breathe,” he said before losing consciousness.
Kell said the victim of the dog attack went into cardiac arrest but was resuscitated by paramedics and airlifted to Westmead Hospital.
He underwent several surgeries but did not regain consciousness.
Mr Amatto’s family made the heartbreaking decision to disconnect his life support five weeks later.
Kell acknowledged the “tragic circumstances” of the 40-year-old’s death following the “ferocious” attack.
“Colin was very loved by his family,” she said.
“His death has had a profound impact on them.”
Counsel assisting the coroner said Mr Amatto’s intervention saved the woman and child from further serious injury and allowed them to leave the house.
“It’s clear that (the woman and her daughter) are lucky to be alive,” he said.
Details of Amatto’s death were revealed during an investigation into the circumstances surrounding seven fatal dog attacks that occurred between 2019 and 2023.
Members of Mr Amatto’s family attended the inquest into his death. Image: GoFundMe
Two Staffordshire bull terriers (one pictured) were handed over to Blacktown Council and euthanized the following day.
The investigation, which has been ongoing for weeks, examines the response of local councils to deadly dog attacks in order to prevent further tragedies.
The investigation reported that Amatto had lived with the two dogs that killed him for months before his death.
“Sometimes he would fight with (one of the dogs) and it seems like he slept with the dogs at night,” Kell said.
While there were no issues that would have raised alarm bells for Amatto during that time, Kell noted that one of the dogs had brutally attacked a real estate agent two years earlier.
On July 24, 2017, the dog launched a ‘fearsome attack’ on the man, dragging him into the backyard and causing serious injuries to his hands, arms, torso and face.
The man was saved by a teenager who was nearby, who heard his screams and defended the dog with a chair.
Authorities confiscated the dog, but ultimately returned it to its owner after it was determined that it had been guarding property.
“It appears that no relevant action was taken by NSW Police or Penrith Council,” Mr Kell said.
Deputy State Coroner Carmel Foster will hear from the victim on Monday.
Before the investigation began, Mr. Amatto’s family participated in a traditional smoking ceremony to cleanse the area.
The investigation discovered that one of the dogs attacked a real estate agent two years earlier, in 2017.