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Man beats dog, saves citizens

Post by News Tribune Staff on April 6, 2008 at 6:36 pm with No Comments »
April 6, 2008 6:36 pm

Ok, that’s a bad newspaper pun on a seemingly good deed. It happened back in January, but a reader brought this item to our attention and it’s interesting, so thought I’d share it.

In a January newsletter, the city of Tacoma gave kudos to a Cujo-battling environmental specialist who used a manhole hook to fight off a pitbull that was attacking some citizens.

The reader who wrote in was upset that the man attacked the dog “when it didn’t even bite anybody.” But, according to the newsletter, the city employee did earn the thanks of the people he helped: “I can’t thank you enough for your presence and bravery today when we were being attacked by the dog.”

Mike Rhubright, senior environmental specialist, was expecting just another day at work on Jan. 18. He was responding to a call in a residential area of North 25th Street when, sitting in his truck and writing up the details of the call, he noticed a dog behind a fence barking at two women, a toddler and a small leashed dog walking past. As he looked up, he saw the dog – a Pit Bull – "explode" through its cedar fence barrier and head right toward the group of walkers. "The dog just blasted through that fence," appearing to go after the smaller dog but tangling the toddler in the leash in the process, Mike said.

In a second, Mike jumped out of his truck, grabbed a manhole hook from his gear and ran. "I got in between them and tried to back the dog down with the hook," he said. Despite the tool and using a booming, threatening voice with the dog, the dog refused to back down. "It never even flinched or yelped," Mike said.

Mike – a dog lover and dog owner – did his best to avoid the animal’s head and hit him only on the body. Eventually, the walkers got away and the dog ran in a different direction, but it wasn’t over yet. As an older man walking with a cane rounded the corner, the dog reappeared and headed toward him, but Mike came between the dog and man, hitting the dog with the hook again. The dog then turned away for good. Mike called 911 and gathered the names of everyone at the scene, including the dog owners, who showed up a few minutes later.

"It was all a blur," he said later. "It was the last thing I expected on a day out."

Mike’s quick thinking and brave actions earned him this letter of thanks from one of the people he helped: "I can’t thank you enough for your presence and bravery today when we were being attacked by the dog. Thank you for immediately responding and following through by calling animal control! How blessed we were to have a City employee near us. Suzi and I can’t imagine how we could have gotten out of the situation without your help."

Kudos and awards
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