PERRY TOWNSHIP, Ohio (WJW) - An 88-year-old war veteran is credited with saving his 10-year-old neighbor after she was viciously attacked by her family’s dog.
He used a holiday decoration to fight off the animal, which he says left the girl’s arm bloody and mangled, according to WDAF.
"The little girl next door came over and said the dog got her little sister down and wouldn't let go, so I went over and got the dog beat loose, but her one arm is just chewed up," Leonard Miller tells a dispatcher in a call to 911.
Miller said he rushed to his next door neighbor's house on Foxford Street Southwest in Stark County's Perry Township Sunday afternoon. He said a frantic girl ran to him for help after her 10-year-old sister was attacked by the family's pit bull.
"I'm thinking, 'What am I gonna get to defend myself with?' I had forgotten my baseball bat, and so I went up there and got one of them nutcrackers and I grabbed it," Miller told WDAF.
The Korean War Army medic said he ran inside the home with the plastic Christmas ornament and found the girl lying on the floor.
"That dog had her right there, just a shakin' and growlin' and just shakin' like an animal would… I hit that dog with that nutcracker, probably three or four times, I'm not sure, but I did it and that dog did not budge," said Miller.
Miller said he was determined to save the girl and did not give up.
"I whacked it on the back about two or three times, and when I hit it on the back, it let loose of the little girl," he said.
Miller said he then lured the dog through an open door.
"I don't know, the dog just seemed to think that I was in command or something because he didn't try to charge me," he explained.
The 10-year-old is being treated at Akron Children's Hospital. Miller said a family friend told him the girl has already had one surgery on her arm and is expected to have another operation on Tuesday.
"Her arm was bit up clear down through here, blood just streaming all over the place… One of the medics said that's the worse they had ever seen, an injury from a dog," said Miller.
Miller said the three girls were the only people home at the time of the attack. He said he has seen the dog running around in the family’s yard since the summer.
According to a Stark County spokeswoman, the family surrendered the pit bull to the county dog warden Monday.