Kyle, 10, and Erin Furlong, 8, play with their family shepherd, Lucy. (courtesy photo)
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Good Samaritan acts to stop pit bull attack on German Shepherd in Lynn

LYNN — A Lynn man is being called a hero for breaking up a dog attack on Friday afternoon, potentially saving a German Shepherd's life in the process.

The man, a local fantasy author who requested to be identified only by his pseudonym, O.P. Miller, was driving to the gym when he came across a pit bull attacking a family's 4-year-old German Shepherd at Conomo and Magnolia avenues.

The shepherd belongs to Nahant Police Officer Timothy Furlong and his family, who live in the city near where the attack occurred. Furlong, who wasn't present during the attack, is calling Miller a "hero" for his actions.

His shepherd, Lucy, is a little sore, but doesn't appear to have any serious injuries.

Furlong said his wife, Jodi, was walking the family dog and his two young children, Kyle, 10, and Erin, 8, were just ahead on their bikes, when a white pit bull came out of a yard and began to attack Lucy.

Both of his kids were hysterical as they were watching their mother fight off the other dog, Furlong said, while their own dog was fighting back and pushing his wife out of harm's way.

He said Kyle was trying to flag passing cars over to help to no avail when suddenly a man, later identified as Miller, stopped to help out and got bit in the process.

"I want to thank the guy, (Miller) for stopping and helping," Furlong said. "This man is a hero in my mind and I would greatly appreciate it if he got recognized as such. (It was a) scary situation that could have ended much worse if it weren't for this man."

Miller, 50, said a little girl came up to his car screaming for help with tears streaming down her face and then saw her mother trying to get the pit bull off the family pet. It was the terrified look on the little girl's face that made him want to intervene.

"I'd do it a thousand times over," Miller said. "When I saw the little girl's face, there was nothing that was going to stop me from pulling over and seeing what was wrong with her. I'll never forget her face … It was unnerving to say the least."

If he hadn't jumped in, Miller said the pit bull would have killed the German Shepherd because it was locked on the other dog's neck.

Miller said he raced toward the pit bull, pulled, yanked and punched him. He pulled and twisted the dog's collar, nearly choking him and when Miller fell back and put his hand up, he said the pit bull came at him and ripped his hand "pretty good."

The three-minute struggle felt like much longer and a "little surreal," Miller said, and strangely ended with the pit bull wagging his tail and licking Miller like nothing had ever happened.

During the fight, Miller said he felt a little fearful, but his adrenaline was rushing. His hand is OK, but he said he had to get seven rabies shots as a precaution.

Furlong said he got the call and arrived after the fight was over. He shook Miller's hand and thanked him when he got there. He's reached out to City Councilor-at-Large Brian Field and recommended Miller for a citation from the City Council.

"It was pretty heroic, what he did," Furlong said.

Miller posted on Facebook about the incident, which was shared on a Lynn community page. He said the shared post has been flooded with comments with people calling him a hero.

"It kind of feels good," Miller said. "I guess I am a hero, but to me, it's so different from barroom brawl. When you're fighting a person, it's one thing, but when you're fighting something that wants to chew on your neck, that's a little different story. It's a little unnerving to put it mildly."

According to the Lynn Police report, the attacking pit bull had been secured with a neighbor's leash to a sign post. The dog was friendly with people and showed no sign of aggression toward Lynn firefighters or police, but did remain focused on Lucy.

The pit bull's owner was reportedly "distraught" over the events and she explained that Tug is not a "people aggressive" dog but has issues with other dogs, according to the report.

It's unclear what happened to the pit bull following the attack.

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