For some background information: I am a ret. special operations veteran from the U.S. Army, and have been trained against attack dogs, although this was my first encounter in a windbreaker and shorts instead of a padded suit.

So, in the middle of my run today through a park, I heard barking and looked to see an obese woman fighting to hold back her pit bull as it barked and tried to give chase to a child riding his bicycle on the path ahead of me.

In quite possibly the most pathetic fashion I've seen, the woman drops the leash and falls, and the dog tears across the field towards the child. The kid sees the dog coming, gets off the bike and starts to run away. I begin running towards the child to pick him up, but the dog is much closer. It jumps onto the child and viciously bites his thigh, taking him down to the ground. The child throws his arms up, and I'm there just as the dog bites the child a second time, on his forearm by his elbow. I gave the dog a hard kick to the ribs and booted it off the ground, but the little fuck kept his jaws clamped to the child's arm and started to twist its head back and forth. I dived on top of the dog, got one arm under his neck and tried to gouge the dog's eyes with my other hand. It let go of the kid to try to bite me, and tore a fucking piece out of my windbreaker sleeve. I squeezed his head close to my shoulder with one arm like I was trying to hold a football, braced myself against his body with my knees, and then held it tightly and twisted his head, hard.

The child's parents called 911 while I wrapped his father's sweater around the kid's arm. His leg wasn't bleeding much, but skin had been torn from the child's arm. The stupid bitch who owned the dog was screaming and crying and telling us it wasn't her fault, the dog had been her brother's, and other nonsense.

Police and an ambulance showed up, and the child went to the hospital with his parents. I went to the police station with the woman, and got a ride home from an officer after I was done. I was on the phone with the kid's father half an hour ago, and he's going to be fine -- the child is still in the hospital now, they're making sure his arm doesn't get infected. They said they've spoken to the woman and plan to settle out of court.

So, that's that. As for how I feel, I don't regret my actions at all, but as an owner of three dogs (two ex-police dogs and a black lab my wife saved), I am disgusted that a dog had to die because of his stupid owner's negligence.

I'm curious what others think about this. My wife gave me a good scolding for being "crazy" but agreed that if I hadn't acted, the child may have been mauled.

As for whether I could have done the same thing without killing the animal, I don't know. I suppose I could have tried to control it without breaking its neck, but it was awfully close to biting my arm and in the moment it seemed like the only option.

I'm curious to know what others think of this situation. I will check back as often as I can to reply to any questions.

P.S. Sorry for posting a second time, I submitted this to "" by accident without choosing "IAmA."

EDIT: I have been replying to posts in my first (wrong) submission located here: I'll start replying to the ones here now, I apologize for the delay.

Comments: 2366 • Responses: 12  • Date: 

[deleted]398 karma

Is your windbreaker ok?

MEP_SO126 karma

I threw it out at the park since it was one of those free corporate-logo handouts.

DubC444198 karma

...tore a fucking piece out of my windbreaker sleeve.

The most enraged I've seen anyone about the state of their windbreaker.

But great job. Any other times your training has kicked in after you were out of the Army? It's amazing how deep they drill that stuff into your head.

MEP_SO126 karma

The most useful part of my training was to keep a cool head during extreme situations. It's helped me avoid a few accidents while driving. Also, someone tried to mug me in a subway station when I visited New York, and it didn't work out. I kick my coworkers' asses in paintball once a month (which, I admit, is great fun), but beyond that, my days aren't too crazy. I don't have guns hidden behind paintings or a bunker in my toolshed, if that's what you're expecting. :)

[deleted]118 karma

I, probably along with others, would love to hear about the failed subway mugging now.

MEP_SO136 karma

It wasn't anything special. Some low-life pulled a knife and demanded my handbag and wallet. I dropped my handbag and took his knife, and hopefully he learned a lesson.

RiskRegsiter207 karma

I think you are one of the few men than could get away with carrying a 'handbag'

MEP_SO154 karma

Ha! Nice catch! I meant duffel bag, my mistake.

yulip20 karma

That's still pretty badass. Did you get your bag back?

MEP_SO79 karma

Yes, I picked it back up after I took his knife.

tkeajax47 karma

Do you believe an average sized person without specialized training can kill a dog the way you did? What should one do if they were alone in the Childs situation?

MEP_SO167 karma

If they were well trained, they could. If they were not trained but athletic, I think they could handle a pit bull attack and survive without permanent damage. If they were untrained and unathletic, it could go both ways. Crossposted from the other page, this is how you defend against dogs:

Tough question to answer. I was trained mostly against attack dogs, and they don't bite blindly like a typical dog. Also, we had combat knives, which would make dog attacks much easier to handle.

My quick advice would amount to this: Small dogs: Kick the shit out of them, see how far they fly.

Bigger/big dogs: You will get bitten. It will hurt. Even though adrenaline will take the edge off the pain, still be aware of this. Turn slightly away from the dog so your groin isn't exposed, and ball your fists. If the dog is growling/barking at you but not advancing, back away slowly and find something to get in between you and it. If you have a coat or jacket on, take it off and hold it in front of you as a shield. Don't pull a sweater over your head or you're SOL if the dog decides to attack. If the dog attacks, as it approaches, keep your forearm from your frontmost arm out in front. The dog will bite your forearm, and attempt to take you down. Absorb the blow and go down with the dog. Keep your chin tucked in so it doesn't bite your neck. Wrap your free arm around the dog, pull its body towards you, and do your best to roll on top of the dog so your weight is on its body. Then, from this mounted position, try to move your free arm around its neck to get it in a choke hold and squeeze to strangle it. If it lets go of your forearm use this arm to squeeze tighter around its neck. Don't try to choke it with your fingers because you'll fail. You need the strength of your whole arm wrapped around its neck.

If you happen to have a jacket in front of you like I mentioned, you might manage to push it off you as it tries to bite. If you can manage to wrap the jacket arounds its head, strangling it will become easier. If it is not particularly adept at biting you, punching its face/snout (hard -- aim specifically for its nose) might make it back down.

Summary: Do not run, get a jacket in front of you if you can, once it takes you down use your free hand to pull it onto you and roll on top to get into position to strangle it. Kick small dogs like you're aiming for a field goal.

ISmokeCigars29 karma

What if I have a knife?

MEP_SO87 karma

Keep it in your back hand and swing upwards into the dog's neck as it bites your forearm. Stabbing it without taunting it with a target to bite is risky because chances are, the knife will either just cut the dog's flesh and do no short-term damage, or it will impale somewhere non-deadly and be pulled away from you, just as the dog lands on you. I'd rather have to wait on a bite to heal on my arm than to have a dog maul my face as my knife sticks out of its hind leg.

mitainesenlaine43 karma

Where were the parents when this was was all going on (before they called 911) and how were they reacting during this whole ordeal? Did they thank you for saving their child? Did you ever find out why this particular dog was so vicious?

MEP_SO171 karma

The parents were sitting on a bench farther down the path. They arrived at their son's side as I broke the dog.

araq157942 karma

and then held it tightly and twisted his head, hard.

  • did the dog die instantly, or did it yelp?

  • where were the parents?

In quite possibly the most pathetic fashion I've seen, the woman drops the leash and falls

  • now did the owner fall first, or was it the leash; (i.e-did she do it intentionally)?

good on you for taking action.

MEP_SO68 karma

The dog was growling/gurgling the entire time I had my arm around it's neck, and when I twisted the growling just stopped.

As for the owner, the dog lunged towards the boy, pulling her forward, and she released the leash to brace her fall.

Gimli_The_Dwarf15 karma

Bravo for your quick thinking and action.

Regarding this:

I am a ret. special operations veteran from the U.S. Army, and have been trained against attack dogs

I'm sure you've seen the number of incidents lately of police officers shooting dogs just because "it's coming right for us!" I mean a freaking SWAT officer shot a Corgi. Since you've had that training, and in consideration of what you did today, how do you feel about the idea that police should be trained to deal with dogs, and learn to assess the danger of a dog running at them instead of defaulting to "shoot first" ?

MEP_SO19 karma

Yes, morally I agree that they should be trained. However, I do not know how cost effective this would be in comparison to other training they could receive that would be more valuable.

darkcity213 karma

i wrote a wordy tutorial about how to make a dog let go, but then I read you have been trained against attack dogs, and I wondered why you would kick it in the ribs. I have limited experience with vicious dogs, but kicking it never worked for me (not that I've tried it a lot).

Pulling its tail or lifting its hind legs off the ground usually seemed to work when breaking up dog fights. Did I learn wrong? Are these methods applicable to when dogs attack humans?

for what it's worth, pit bulls are pretty great dogs. i've been closer to an attack around a labrador or cocker spaniel than pit bull (partially because aggressive pit bulls are OBVIOUSLY aggressive).

MEP_SO22 karma

I kicked it because I already had momentum from running, and because the opportunity to break some of its ribs was worth it considering I would have saved almost no time if I had dived first.

Typically, kicking doesn't do much against an attacking dog. Pulling its tail would do even less. Pit bulls have a tendency not to let go after they bite, opting to tear flesh rather than letting go and biting a second time.

doitmichey5 karma

love the courage and, that was one lucky kid. did it make the news? link?

edit: was this you, bastards didn't mention you:

MEP_SO5 karma

Not me. There weren't any reporters there before I left. Also, the child seemed much younger than 12. Maybe 8 at the oldest.