FAIRBANKS—A Fairbanks man critically shot a pit bull in Aurora Subdivision on Wednesday evening after it attacked another dog being walked by two girls.
The pit bull was shot twice in the head and later euthanized by a veterinarian, according to Fairbanks police officer Doug Welborn.
The 12- and 16-year-old girls were walking their rat terrier on the 2000 block of Bridgewater Drive when the attack happened. The girls were not injured, but the pit bull's owner was bitten while trying to stop the attack, according to Welborn.
Vern Woods, 80, told the Daily News-Miner he was home watching TV when he saw the two girls come out of their house with their dog on a leash. They crossed to Woods' side of the street and were taking pictures when the pit bull "came out of nowhere at a dead run."
The rat terrier ran around the girls and its leash became wrapped around their legs, Woods said.
"The pit bull hit that little dog and pinned him to the ground. The girls naturally tried to jump back, but they hit that leash and they fell. They were trying to kick at the dog and yelling at it but it wouldn't let go. I’ve never seen anything so ferocious in my life," Woods said.
The girls were dragged by the pit bull as he violently shook and pulled the rat terrier. The pit bull's owner appeared and tried to pull his dog away but was knocked down as well.
"Now there’s three of them lying on the ground. I ran out my back porch to my car and I grabbed my pistol and ran out my garage. The girls’ father is there by now and he’s beating on the dog’s head when he could, but this dog was so fast," Woods said. "I started shouting, ‘Let him go, get away from him. Back up, I’m going to kill him.’"
Woods waited until everyone was away from the pit bull and then fired downward so that the bullet would go into the ground. He shot the pit bull in the head. It dropped the rat terrier but remained standing, so Woods shot it a second time.
"I turned around and looked at the little girls. They’re panicking and crying, their dog is all chewed up and their dad ran them back into the house," Woods said. "I went back in the garage, put the gun on the table, unloaded it and called 911 and told them what I’d done."
The pit bull's owner was clearly distraught about his dog being shot, according to Woods.
"He’s apologizing to the dog, calling it by the name and telling him he was sorry," Woods said. "I would have thought he would turn his attention to the kids or the kids' dad and then worry about the dog, but he took it and just disappeared before I even had a chance to call the police."
Woods had never seen the pit bull or its owner before but was told they lived just down the street from him.
Woods said he felt bad about shooting the pit bull but didn't feel he had any choice but to intervene.
"This went on for about two or three minutes, and I didn’t go downstairs until it intensified so bad it scared me," Woods said of the attack. "I always thought pit bulls got a bad rap, but after seeing how ferocious they can be … I’ve been here 47 years, and I’m a hunter, and I’ll tell you, I’d rather have a bear attack me than a pit bull."
Woods said he didn't know if the rat terrier survived but that there were puncture holes in its neck from the pit bull shaking it "like a limp rag."
Welborn said the case is not under investigation and has been closed.
Contact staff writer Dorothy Chomicz at 459-7582. Follow her on Twitter: @FDNMcrime.