ROWLETT, Texas - A Rowlett father is worried for his family's safety after a pit bull attacked him.
Nearly two dozen people signed a petition with comments like "do not return this dangerous dog" and "I'm afraid to walk my neighborhood."
But despite the petition, the city of Rowlett released the dog to its owner. They said the petition was not a factor in their decision.
Jason Melbourne says he was with his wife and two small children when the attack happened ten days ago.
“It comes out. My little seven-pound Chihuahua tried her best to jump in the way and tries to save us,” he recalled.
The Melbournes say the dog grabbed their Chihuahua.
“My wife was going to go toward the dog. And I said, ‘Don't touch that dog! It's a pit,’” Melbourne said. “Fortunately, being as big as I am and a taller guy, I was able to wrap my legs around the dog and squeeze and choke it while it had my arm in its grip."
Melbourne had severe bite wounds that became infected. He spent nine days in the hospital.
“I'm lucky it happened to me and someone big enough to fight it off,” he said. “If it had been one of my kids, they would not be here. It would have ripped their arms from their bodies. This dog was that nasty."
City Spokesman Cruz Hernandez says the dog got loose after jumping through a window screen. He also says video of the attack was turned over to the city this week that shows the Melbournes trespassing on the property next to the dog owner's home.
“If the mom and dad had abided by the no trespass signs, I don't think we would have had a dog incident,” Hernandez said.
The Melbournes hired attorney Paul Wingo to fight the city's decision.
“We've had almost the entire neighborhood sign a petition that the dog is dangerous,” Wingo said. “We want people to enjoy our communities. To have a dog with those propensities is unacceptable."
“Seems like the dog has more rights than me,” Melbourne said.
Hernandez says the owners of the pit bull recently moved to Rowlett from Garland. But to his knowledge, he says there were not any reported problems with the dog in Garland.