Deputy fires four gunshots into dog to stop vicious attack on man in South Hill

SOUTH HILL, Wash. -- A Pierce County sheriff's deputy fired four shots into a pit bull that had mauled and severely injured a man it had taken to the ground and that was circling the victim in an attempt to resume its attack, the sheriff's department said Thursday.

The deputy responded at about 5:48 p.m. Wednesday to a 911 call reporting a dog attack in the 15500 block of 119th Ave. CT. E. in South Hill.

The deputy "saw the victim on the ground covered in blood and a man holding a T-shirt against a wound on the victim's arm," the sheriff's department said in a news release. "A large pitbull (sic) dog was biting down on the victim's leg, and another man was pulling on the dog's legs in an attempt to free the victim. Another man from the neighborhood was also trying to assist the victim.

"As the deputy was running toward the victim, one of the men was able to throw the dog away from the victim. The dog stood back up and started to circle around the victim, the two witnesses, and the deputy; as the dog started to advance back toward the victim, the deputy fired multiple shots at the dog preventing a further attack," it said.

The deputy reported that he fired four shots into the advancing dog. The dog reportedly survived and was handed over to Pierce County Animal Control officers.

A woman at the scene told the deputy that the victim was a friend of hers, and she had given him a ride in her car while the pit bull and another dog were in the backseat of the vehicle.

"She said that she and the victim were 'playfully arguing' over the music on the radio, when all of a sudden the pitbull (sic) lunged from the backseat and bit the victim's face," the sheriff's department said. "She said that she stopped the car and the victim tried running away, but the dog chased after him and took him to the ground; she reported that she was able to get the dog back into her vehicle, but the dog jumped out an open car window and attacked the victim again."

The three men who helped the victim lived in the neighborhood told the deputy they tried "multiple times to get the dog off of the victim.  One of the men tried to pry the dog's jaws off of the victim with a metal pry bar and suffered puncture wounds on his hands," the department said.

The deputy said the victim had "several deep bite marks on his face, arms, and legs" and he applied a tourniquet to the victim's arm until medics arrived on scene and transported the victim to a nearby hospital with serious injuries.