A Fernandina Beach, Florida, veteran used his concealed-carry weapon to shoot and kill a pit bull that was attacking his service dog Wednesday morning.
“It was self-defense pure and simple,” Jim Strickland told First Coast News. “That dog would have killed my dog. No question.”
Strickland and his wife had taken their dog, Betty Boop, to the Fernandina Beach Animal Clinic get its nails cut. While his wife went inside the clinic to check in, Strickland took his dog to a wooded area for a “little break.”
“[The other dog] ran 35 feet across a parking lot to the wooded area where Boop and I were taking a little break, and he attacked her,” said Strickland.
After one of the attacking pit bull’s handlers managed to get control for a moment, Strickland said, “Hold your dog. I am armed. I will shoot your dog.”
When the dog continued to attack, Strickland, a 70-year-old Army veteran with a concealed carry license, fired twice.
“Had I not shot that dog, he would have killed my dog,” he told First Coast News. “That’s the only reason I did it.”
Officials determined Strickland was not at fault as it was a clear case of self-defense.
Betty Boop, a Weimaraner service dog, managed to get out of the situation with only a few scratches, WTLV reports, and Strickland had a critical message for pet owners. (RELATED: It’s Time For Common Sense Pit Bull Regulation)
“If you are an animal owner, it is your responsibility to have that animal under control at all times,” said Strickland. “I don’t care if it’s a Chihuahua or a brontosaurus.”
The pit bull’s owners said the dog, named Dozer, slipped out of his collar as they were preparing to leave.
WATCH, via WTLV: