A Richmond family and about a dozen dog lovers rallied in front of Richmond city hall Monday to save Axel and Paris, two 7-year-old Rottweilers on death row for biting a man last October.

The dogs were taken from Raj and Prabjot Nijjer after they escaped from the family's Richmond yard just metres from an elementary school. They wandered over to a construction site and bit worker Dustin Wang in the leg.

Wang told CBC News that the dog bite wasn't serious and he doesn't want the dogs destroyed, but that he would change his mind if they had a history of violence. 

Rottweiler on death row

The family shows a reporter one of two Rottweilers on death row.

'The Rottweilers pursued the children to the school where other children were outside playing during the noon hour recess. The Rottweilers chased and jumped on children scaring some and causing others to cry.' - City of Richmond court documents

Prabjot Nijjer cried at the rally, telling reporters the dogs are friendly and don't deserve to be destroyed. 

She says the family has built a new enclosure and fence to keep the animals away from the public. 

They're hoping that will be enough to persuade the city to give them their dogs back. "I want them free very quickly and to come home."

Raj Nijjer says they haven't been able to see the dogs since they were taken away. He says they are part of the family. "The dogs are very friendly and we raised like kids."

Rotties go on a tear

As it turns out, however, the dogs do have a history of violence. Court documents obtained by CBC News show that in September 2010, one of the Rottweilers bit a dachshund in the neck, injuring it and knocking down its owner. The animals then chased nearby school children who were on recess, eventually forcing the evacuation of the school yard. 

Dog lovers rally to save rottweilers

"The Rottweilers pursued the children to the school where other children were outside playing during the noon hour recess. The Rottweilers chased and jumped on children, scaring some and causing others to cry." 

City of Richmond spokesperson Ted Townsend says the city will be going to court in April for an order to have the dogs destroyed.

"Decisions about animals and dogs that have been deemed to be dangerous, public safety is a major consideration."

With files from the CBC's Meera Bains