Officer Credited With Saving Man's Life
Kokomo, IN - Thanks to a straight shooting police officer, a man still has a right arm and his life. Steve Shallenberger said he was moments away from being mauled to death. His partner Tiffany Anderson and police Officer Rich Benzinger, who witnessed the attack, agree.
That morning, he and his partner awoke to the sound of a barking dog. Steve found the dog out in the street. He seemed friendly enough when Steve checked his collar. After officer Benzinger arrived, the large pit bull was still calm and wagging his tail, but in a snappo-lific moment, that changed. The dog tore into Steve without a shred of warning.
"As soon as that door opened up, that dog just went berserk," Steve said.
Officer Benzinger said the man's life was definitely in danger. "When that dog latched on, it was obvious that it wasn't letting go." All three said they thought the dog was about to go for Steve's face and throat next. A dog lover himself, Benzinger made a split-second decision, drew his gun and shot the dog in the head.
At the hospital, Steve received surgery to repair a chipped bone, torn tendons and deep lacerations -- for an attack that was only seconds long. He faces a long recovery as well. Steve is expected to miss work for at least 12 weeks. He said he was thankful, however, that his hand "and not a major artery or a child" caught the wrath of this dog.
The dog's owner, neighbor Michael Conner, arrived after the dog was killed. According to a police report, he was drunk and swore at the officers. Conner faces charges of harboring a non-immunized dog, disorderly conduct and public intoxication. DogsBite.org hopes Conner doesn't get to keep the dog, nor anyone else for that matter.
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