By Dave Rogers
---- — AMESBURY — A New Hampshire man is being hailed a hero for fending off an out-of-control large dog that was threatening a 16-month-old baby and her caregiver near Mill Street Tuesday morning.
In the process, Keith Kondrat, an Exeter, N.H., father of three, was bit several times and transported to Anna Jaques Hospital for treatment, according to police and a family member.
The dog, a roughly 85- to 90-pound mastiff/pit bull mix escaped from its yard around 8:15 a.m. and stormed the woman and baby as she was pushing her in a stroller near the Mill Street school bus stop. The caregiver and another woman lifted the stroller over their heads to keep the dog’s jaws away from the child, according to police.
Moments later, Kondrat arrived at the scene and managed to divert the female dog’s attention away from the baby. In the process, however, he was bit many times. Police say Kondrat suffered as many as four sets of puncture wounds and may have fractured his arm.
“That person stepped up and did the right thing,” Amesbury police Lt. Kevin Ouellet said.
As this was happening, a large crowd of about 30 people, including children waiting for the school bus, converged upon the scene.
Ouellet said it is unclear whether the dog intended to attack the woman and the baby.
“But the dog was definitely intrigued,” Ouellet said.
Eventually, a rope was tied around the dog’s neck and placed around a railing until authorities could arrive. But according to police, the dog tried to escape, prompting people to pull on the rope to keep slack at a minimum. At one point witnesses pulled the rope hard enough to lift the dog’s front legs off the pavement, eventually knocking it unconscious. The dog failed to recover and was pronounced dead at the scene.
Animal control officer Lisa Young-Carey responded to the scene and the dog is expected to be tested for rabies, according to police.
“That would be standard procedure,” Ouellet said.
Assisting Young-Carey, on loan to Amesbury police since its animal control officer, Harold Congdon, was let go last month, were police officers Robert Chatigny and Sgt. William Scholtz. According to police, the dog owner has not been charged, but that could change upon the conclusion of its investigation.