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December 17, 2013
16-year-old rescues cousins from attacking pit bull
The Free Press
DEEP RUN, N.C. — Family members are calling Brad Strickland a hero.
The 16-year-old was visiting his uncle’s house at 1833 Liddell Road with his mother, brother and cousins on Saturday.
When the youngsters wanted to play outside, Leonard “Shorty” Spence, owner of the home, warned the children to come back inside if the next door neighbor lets his pit bull outside on its leash.
Spence said the dog scared his 11-year-old daughter into climbing on top of a trailer once and prevented her from getting off her school bus another time after it broke off its leash. But it hadn’t injured her.
Strickland told the story he said took place about 5 p.m.
“We were outside throwing the ball in the front yard,” Strickland said, “and then that dog came out in the yard from the neighbor’s yard.”
The dog no longer had its leash and collar on, he said.
“Everybody started screaming,” he said, “because they knew that the dog was mean to start with.”
His 10-year-old brother, Justin Strickland, ran to the porch yelling that the pit bull was in the yard. Jamie Wetherington, 9, was screaming, too, and he also made it inside.
Braxton Penny, 9, was heading up the five steps to the porch.
“He was running up the stairs and the dog grabbed him off the porch and started slinging him,” Strickland said.
The dog was shaking his head after grabbing hold of the 58-pound youngster.
Strickland said at first he was in shock. Then he rushed over, grabbed the dog with one arm and his cousin with the other and threw the dog off.
Penny scrambled to the porch and into the house as Spence, his cousin, was coming out the door.
“The dog charged at me twice,” Spence said. “I tried to grab at him and he ran. I didn’t know he bit (Penny).”
When the dog went after Krista Spence, 10, and Haleigh Daniel, 12, who were still outside, Strickland got in between the girls and the dog. He kicked and yelled at it when it got close to one of the girls.
The girls were able to get into the house safely, and the dog went back to its yard.
Penny was taken by ambulance to Lenoir Memorial Hospital. He received 10 stitches where a chunk of flesh had been bitten from his arm.
On Monday, the boy recalled those moments when he was trying to flee from the pit bull.
“My boots were on,” he said. “I was thinking about taking them off. But I didn’t have time.”
He remembered trying to reach his cousin’s hand and just was able to grasp his finger.
“(Penny) can’t do sports for a year,” Spence said. “He was trying out for basketball.”
Spence said the dog was quarantined by animal control and will be put down after 10 days.
Strickland and Spence said the neighbor and her daughter came out when they heard the dog growling and were yelling at it, but the dog was paying no attention.
Spence said he had talked to the neighbor earlier about getting a stronger leash but that it hadn’t been done.
Strickland saved two girls from injury and Penny from what could have been much worse, Spence said.
“Brad Strickland was their hero — their guardian angel,” he said.
Strickland said he was “just doing what anybody would have done.”
Penny expressed his gratitude about Strickland.
“I’m glad he saved me,” he said, “and he got the dog off of me and stuff.”
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