Share story

FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) — A Fairbanks man shot a pit bull to stop an attack on a small dog being walked by two girls outside his home, police said.

Vern Woods fired two shots into the larger dog, which later was euthanized.

Woods, 80, will not face charges, Fairbanks police officer Doug Welborn told the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner . The pit bull’s owner was bitten trying to stop the attack, Welborn said.

Woods was watching television Wednesday when he looked outside and saw his 12- and 16-year-old neighbors step out of their suburban home with their rat terrier on a leash. They crossed to Woods’ side of the street.

As they took pictures, Woods said, the pit bull “came out of nowhere at a dead run.” The small dog tried to escape and its leash wrapped around the girls’ legs.

“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,” Woods said. “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.”

The pit bull’s owner appeared and tried to pull his dog away but was knocked down.

“Now there’s three of them lying on the ground,” Woods said. “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. I started shouting, ‘Let him go, get away from him. Back up, I’m going to kill him.'”

The larger dog shook the rat terrier “like a limp rag,” Woods said.

With the people out of the way, Woods shot the pit bull in the head. The bigger dog dropped the rat terrier but remained standing. Woods fired again.

“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.

“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.”


Information from: Fairbanks (Alaska) Daily News-Miner,