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Posted: 9/17/2004 10:13:26 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/17/2004 10:25:27 AM EDT by parshooter]
Pit Bull Attack

Guys were fighting him off with knives and machetes.

Pit bull attacks two at apartments

A 70-pound pit bull attacked and severely injured two men on the second floor of an off-campus student apartment complex Thursday.

The two men were saved when two other men used knives and a machete to stop the dog's attack.

Sgt. Steve Maynard with the Alachua County Sheriff's Office said the rescuers prevented what could have been fatal wounds. Deputies later killed the dog.

The victims, Ryan Tyler, 21, of Jupiter and Ryan Troup, 19, of St. Petersburg, were rushed to Shands at the University of Florida and treated for injuries to their arms.

The dog had been seen in the hallway on the second floor of The Exchange apartments when it lunged and severely bit Tyler on his left arm, biting almost to the bone, Maynard said.

"If the dog had been left to chew on him, he probably would have been dead," Maynard said, calling it "an extremely severe attack."

At one point Tyler was in critical condition but later was downgraded to stable condition.

Maynard said the dog, a black pit bull with reddish hues, was named Tango. Residents at the complex, at 3527 SW 20th Ave., said the dog came from apartment No. 425.

Neighbors called 911 at 4:20 p.m., and Alachua County Fire Rescue, along with deputies, arrived within five minutes, Maynard said.

Tyler's friend Ian Carmichael heard screams from his third-floor apartment and rushed downstairs. He saw the dog furiously shaking its head with its jaws locked around his friend's left arm. Carmichael jumped on the dog's back and tried to pull it off Tyler by pulling back on the collar.

At the same time, Nathan Lezniewicz, 21, a Santa Fe Community College student from Gainesville, also heard the screams and ran to the scene.

A woman in apartment 423 came to his aid and handed Lezniewicz knives, and then quickly shut her door to keep from getting hurt.

Onlookers cried, "Oh my God," while the two college students, now armed with a machete and kitchen knives, furiously stabbed the dog while its teeth were clenched to Tyler's arm.

The dog, bloodied and with a knife in its torso, released Tyler's arm and ran up to the third floor. Then, it immediately rushed back downstairs and cornered his second victim, Troup, at the door of apartment 423, and bit his arm.

With Carmichael and Lezniewicz still trying to fend off the dog, the deputies arrived and pounded the dog with a pole to subdue it and then killed it.

Both men modestly described how they rescued the victims, rejecting any notion of being heroes.

"I was just so scared, I don't feel like a hero," Carmichael said.

"I'm more worried about how that kid's feeling," he said, referring to Tyler.

Carmichael, who lives at the apartment complex, said he had never seen the dog before.

Both rescuers said they had trouble remembering the details of the attack.

"It happened so fast," said Lezniewicz, who was wearing a yellow T-shirt with trickles of blood still on it.

Sheriff's investigators taped off the scene.

The Sheriff's Office has not said whether charges will be filed against anyone.

Deputies were trying to contact the dog's owner.

Maynard talked on the phone with attorneys for the apartment complex, who said they wanted all reporters removed from the property. Maynard then escorted reporters off the grounds.

A spokesman for the apartment complex said the company would issue a statement about the incident, but did not give details.

A Web site for the apartment complex advertises it as off-campus living and one of "Gainesville's best student apartments." The Web site says the buildings are "pet friendly."

Maynard said the apartment building prohibited certain types of dogs, such as pit bulls, from living in the building.

Generally, dogs with aggressive tendencies are not welcome in apartment buildings because insurance companies consider them to be liability risks.
Link Posted: 9/17/2004 11:06:51 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/17/2004 11:06:51 AM EDT by Aimless]
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