Even though the pit bull breeds are erroneously thought of as dangerous by certain groups, a great many of them are loyal to their owners and quick to protect their families.
Such is the case with the 21-month-old pit bull puppy, Tank.
Tank is being held in quarantine at the Norwich Animal Shelter in Connecticut. Some may see this pit bull behind bars and wonder what heinous crime he committed to be there. They might be surprised to find out that what Tank did was save his 11-year-old owner.
Savannah Vanase was by her family’s chicken coop, tending to the chickens, when she heard the pit bull making a commotion and running up behind her.
“All of a sudden, my dog comes barking and sprinting under [the coop]. And I look under and there’s this huge raccoon and I just don’t know what to do. I just stood right here,” she said to Fox CT. “They were just tussling and the raccoon went on his back and scratched him on his face, and Tank kept trying to pounce on him.”
The pit bull kept on his prey until the raccoon was no longer a risk to Savannah. Unfortunately, his heroic deed did not go unpunished.
The raccoon was tested and diagnosed with rabies.
Although no bite marks have been reported on the pit bull, rabies can be contracted through scratches as well.
According to the ASPCA, “…the disease is primarily passed to dogs through a bite from an infected animal. It can also be transmitted through a scratch or when infected saliva makes contact with mucous membranes or an open, fresh wound. The risk runs highest if your dog — or any pet — is exposed to wild animals. The most common carriers of the rabies virus in this country are bats, raccoons, skunks and foxes.”
The heroic pit bull is in a 6-month quarantine to see if he starts exhibiting any symptoms.
“Basically we’re waiting to see if he gets any symptoms because the only way to test him is to euthanize him, so we’re trying to avoid that step and give him his fair chance. It’s the least I could do for saving my daughter,” Chris Vanase, Savannah’s dad, said.
So far the pit bull has not shown any symptoms, according to a representative of the shelter he’s staying in.
Little Savannah knows her pit bull is a hero and, without him, she might have been bitten by the infected raccoon, “If we have to put him down, he’ll die as a hero. I’ll know that he died for saving me, my family and my chickens.”
[Image courtesy of Fox CT.]