April 30, 2013

Rescuer of girl recalls Lebanon dog attack

Adam Horr is credited with saving the life of a 12-year-old who was mauled by two pit bulls Saturday.

By David Hench dhench@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

LEBANON – Adam Horr was working in his girlfriend's yard Saturday when he heard a child screaming.

click image to enlarge

Angel Sargent, 12, was attacked Saturday afternoon by two pit bulls at her home at 260 River Road in Lebanon. Photographed on Monday, April 29, 2013.

Derek Davis / Staff Photographer

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"They were the kind of screams you just knew right away it was something bad," said Horr, 41, who lives in Dover, N.H. Horr is being credited with saving the life of a 12-year-old girl who was attacked by two pit bulls Saturday afternoon.

Horr said he sprinted 75 yards through the woods that separated him from the house on the opposite side of River Road. At the back of the house, he discovered two dogs mauling a young girl "like they were trying to tear her apart." A third dog was circling the other two excitedly.

"It was really quite terrifying. I didn't have time to be scared," Horr said. "I started punching and kicking those dogs as best I could. They took me down twice."

Horr's intervention allowed the girl to escape. Police have said if he had not shown up, the dogs likely would have killed her.

Angel Sargent was taken to Frisbie Memorial Hospital in Rochester, N.H., treated for bites to the neck, legs and shoulder and held overnight. She was released Sunday.

Horr's arm and leg were bandaged at the scene.

The girl's mother, Catherine Sargent, declined to be interviewed Monday and ordered a reporter off her property. She did say that Angel was doing well.

"There's nothing wrong with my daughter. She just wants it to be over," Sargent said. "She feels like it's her fault."

Catherine Sargent is engaged to the dogs' owner, Rory Downs, police said.

Maine State Police planned to meet with prosecutors from the York County District Attorney's Office to determine whether charges should be brought against anyone.

State police spokesman Stephen McCausland said no charges have been filed, as far as he knows. He said the Department of Health and Human Services is notified in such cases.

According to McCausland, the pit bulls, named Jager and Meister after a German liqueur, jumped a fence and attacked Angel, who was playing nearby with her sister and another girl. Each dog is 7 months old and weighs between 50 and 60 pounds.

According to dogsbite.org, pit bulls and rottweilers were responsible for 73 percent of fatal dog attacks between 2008 and 2012 and pit bulls accounted for 151 deaths during that period.

Defenders of pit bulls say that a variety of different breeds are often referred to as "pit bull-type dogs," which increases the number of animals that fall into that category. Others say that pit bull bites get a disproportionate amount of media attention.

The dogs involved in Saturday's attack had been raised in the family and had not been aggressive in the past, the owners told police.

On Monday, Horr described Saturday's chaotic scene. When he first heard the yelling, he thought the girl had fallen and broken her leg and nobody was helping her.

"I heard her screaming 'My leg! My leg! My leg! Ow, my leg!' " he said.

As he rounded the mobile home and pounced on the dogs, they turned their attention to him while still snapping at the girl, he said.

"They were focused on both of us. I was trying to take all the focus," he said. "I was willing to let them tear me apart if she could get away.

"I was almost certain at one point they were going to kill her."

One of the dogs sank its teeth into the back of Horr's leg, and he crumpled to the ground.

"I jumped right back on my feet. I knew better than to be on the ground," he said.

(Continued on page 2)

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