The body of Scott Hammond, 40, was found Monday night in the living room of his home in Tahmoor, a village in the Sydney area, The (Sydney) Daily Telegraph reported. Police said his death appeared to be the result of head injuries.
Acting Police Superintendent Danny Doherty said investigators are considering a number of possible motives, including revenge.
Hammond had had a number of brushes with the law. He pleaded guilty last year to setting his pit bulls on a teenager and three men in 2011 and was ordered to pay a fine of $15,000 Australian ($13,630 U.S.).
Neighbors said Hammond had a habit of ordering his dogs to attack people. Danny Forrest, who owns a store in Tahmoor, said he was injured by one of the pit bulls.
"A lot of people didn't like him," Forrest said. "I'll never forget the day he ordered his dogs to attack me. I told him to keep his dogs away from some children near my shop because they were scared. When I came out of the shop he just said to the dogs 'Get him.'"
Hammond's friends said he was also an assault victim with one attack a couple of years ago serious enough to put him in a wheelchair.
"Scottie had some demons but he did have a good heart," Jason Briggs said. "He loved animals and was loyal to his friends."