Neighbor Shoots And Kills Pit Bull That Was Attacking Children

A man shot and killed a pit bull that was attacking two children on a residential street in San Bernardino and the children's aunt calls him "a hero."

The dog got loose Sunday afternoon in the 2400 block of North Genevieve Street, a San Bernardino police lieutenant told NBC 4. Maria Ramirez told the news channel that the dog attacked both her niece and nephew. The boy told NBC that his aunt tried to fight off the dog with a scooter.

Ramirez called the neighbor who shot the dog "a hero," but said she's still worried about another dog on the neighboring property.

Police Lt. Paul Williams told the Press Enterprise that the neighbor heard the attack, ran out and was able to scare the dog away. That allowed the children to escape, but the dog returned and began lunging and growling at the neighbor. The man, whose name has not been released, went inside, got a shotgun, and when the dog came at him again he killed it, Williams said.

"He was defending himself and those two children," Williams said.

Though police must file a report when a civilian fires a gun in public, no charges against the neighbor are expected, according to NBC.

However, animal control officers are investigating the dog mauling, according to the Press Enterprise. They will try to determine how the animal got loose and whether neglect was involved, according to Williams. The owners of the pit bull "may face charges," he said.

When NBC went to interview the neighbors, a woman said she was sorry for the incident, but blamed the children for provoking the dog. A man, who hid his face with his shirt, told the reporter that the media "makes up stories" about dog attacks. He said he wanted to confront the man who shot his dog, but he didn't come to the door.

Williams told the Press Enterprise that the children sustained only minor injuries in the attack. "The kids are fine, they were released from the hospital very quickly," he said today.

Neighboring Riverside County is considering an ordinance to sterilize all pit bulls and pit bull mixes on the heels of two recent fatal attacks by the breed, one in which a 2-year-old died after being attacked by his uncle's dogs in Colton and one in which a 91-year-old woman died after being mauled in Riverside.