Defending yourself during a dog attack

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- "I'm like 'Oh my God they are going to kill my dog' you know."

Joe Minor left his dog Dumbo tied up for a few minutes outside his Forrest City trailer. He heard a commotion and found the service dog he got for depression stuck around a tree.

Dumbo was being attacked by a dog with another nearby.

Both dogs were allowed to run off their leash by their owner.

"My deal was to get them separate and get his dogs out of here."

He was able to pull the dog off Dumbo, but not before both he and the dog were bitten.

"He jumped at me and I pulled my arm back and he got me right here."

Now, Minor doesn't even want to take his dog on short walks, saying he's afraid it will happen again.

"It could have been a lot worse."

Shelby County K9 officers train their dogs to be aggressive and to go after the bad guys. They use protective gear which should act as a reminder of just how powerful and dangerous just one dog can be.

"If a dog is coming toward you it`s ears are up, stiff body, stiff tail then that is probably a dog that means business."

K9 Officer Ray Brenner said if a dog is acting aggressively or running toward you or your dog, stand motionless with your hands at your side and fingers balled in a first.

They said you should also try to keep you dog still.

Don't make eye contact.

"Just hope they lose interest and move on, but as soon as they start not to show as much interest then try to move away slowly to get a barrier in between."

Back in November, a home surveillance camera captured a California woman and her son being attacked by two large dogs.

Officer Brenner said in a situation like that get on top of the vehicle if you can or put something between you and the dog.

Hit the dog on the nose, grab it's collar to control it or tighten the collar forcing it to let go.

"Hopefully, you can get enough pressure to choke it off. Yell for somebody to come help you and get him off."

In the California case, the mother was able to yell for help and neighbors came to her rescue.

Dog handlers said perhaps the best way to protect yourself is to be prepared. That means walking with an air horn or something similar that could make a loud noise to distract or scare off a dog.

Also be sure to carry mace. If you have to spray it, aim for the nose or face are of the dog.

Even a jacket wrapped around your waste could be used to cover a dog's head so it can longer see what it is attacking and will likely let go.

"If you have a water bottle squeeze it to make noise or through it at him. He might think it's a toy and go after it," suggested Officer Brenner.

He said the biggest mistake people make is panicking and running.

If you remain calm it should slow the dog down and throw it off.

"You are not going to outrun the dog so you are just building up the prey even more and it`s going to be worse."

Each year more than 350,000 people in the United States end up in the emergency room with a dog bite.

Approximately 850,000 victims receive some type of medical attention for a dog bite.

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