According to the Centers for Disease Control, children account for approximately half of the 4.5 million people who receive bites from dogs in the United States, including Illinois, every year. Of those bitten, nearly 30,000 may require reconstructive surgery following the attack, and although the bites are rarely fatal, deaths have occurred. 

An 88-year-old man in Ohio rescued a 10-year-old girl who lives next door to him when the family dog attacked and pinned her down by the arm. The girl could have died, according to the first responders who arrived at the scene, but the man’s quick action saved her life. She went to the hospital where doctors were able to save her arm and expect her to make a full recovery. 

The man is an army veteran who served as a medic during the Korean War. He claims that his experience in the service may have helped him rescue the girl. The dog is a pit bull belonging to the girl’s family. Its current condition is unknown. 

The girl’s 13-year-old sister alerted the man to the situation by screaming and banging on his door. He grabbed a plastic Christmas decoration shaped like a toy soldier to use as a weapon against the attacking animal. He entered the family’s home to find the pit bull growling and shaking the girl by the arm. After hitting the dog several times on the head with no effect, he then struck the dog on the back, causing it to let go of the girl. 

According to the man, the dog appeared poised to attack again. The sisters ran outside while the man backed out slowly, calling paramedics and police after shutting all the doors and trapping the dog inside. 

Though the victim of a dog bite is often familiar with the animal that attacks, strange dogs can also pose a danger. Those affected may wish to discuss legal options with an attorney.