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 "reddit.com" by accident without choosing "IAmA."
EDIT: I have been replying to posts in my first (wrong) submission located here: http://www.reddit.com/r/reddit.com/comments/edoga/iama_man_who_killed_a_pit_bull_to_save_a_child/ I'll start replying to the ones here now, I apologize for the delay.