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Rottweiler saves boy, 4, from pit bull

By Staff | May 21, 2011

NASHUA – When a pit bull attacked 4-year-old John Heineman on Thursday afternoon, a hero quickly came to the boy’s rescue.

Frankee, the friendly family Rottweiler, was being walked by the boy’s brother, Cody Taylor. As the pit bull latched onto the boy’s arm and dragged him to the ground, Taylor screamed, “Get him!” and Frankee lunged at the pit bull, biting it in the ribs.

With Frankee launching a canine counterattack and Taylor punching and kicking it, the pit bull relinquished its grip on the boy. Taylor then called 911.

The mauling occurred at 5:30 p.m. Thursday on Temple Place outside John’s home. Taylor and Frankee live across town and just happened to be there at the time.

John received what police described as “serious injuries” in the attack, one of two unrelated pit bull attacks that occurred in the city on Thursday.

In the other, a 13-year-old boy was mauled inside a Kinsley Street apartment, police said. A pit bull there bit the teenager, who was visiting the apartment, on the face and arm, inflicting serious injuries, said Nashua Police Lt. Raymond McDannell.

“They were bad,” McDannell said.

The boy was taken to Southern New Hampshire Medical Center. The dog is still with its owner, McDannell said, because the bite happened inside the apartment and the dog’s vaccinations are up to date.

In the Temple Place attack, it appears the boy was reaching for a toy that was close to the animal, police said.

The pit bull was on a leash at the time, but the owner couldn’t prevent the attack or pry the dog’s jaws open as it clamped around the boy’s arm, Taylor said.

That dog was taken into custody and is being housed at the Humane Society for Greater Nashua, police said.

Police were uncertain whether charges would be filed.

John is in the pediatrics unit at Southern New Hampshire Medical Center, recovering from surgery to repair extensive tissue damage to his arm, said the boy’s mother, Becky Healey.

Meanwhile, Frankee is being hailed as a hero, with neighbors bringing steaks and smothering him with praise and attention as news of the 11-month-old Rott’s heroic actions are spread via Facebook postings, said Debra Mitkus, Taylor’s legal guardian and Frankee’s proud owner.

John lost a lot of flesh in the attack, Taylor said.

“My little brother is a tough little kid,” he said.

“He’s holding very strong though all of it,” Healey said. “He’s a trouper.”

At home, Frankee, a pedigreed Rottweiler, acts like a big lapdog who gets bullied by the family cat. He’s well-trained and readily follows hand signals to sit and lie down.

But he has shown a protective instinct, never biting anyone, but positioning himself in front of kids if he feels roughhousing is getting a bit too rowdy, Mitkus said.

“I just love this dog to pieces,” Mitkus said.

Frankee – whose pedigree name is Franke E. Stein Von Birken Wald – is the third Rottweiler that Mitkus has owned. The ashes of her beloved first one, Baron, are kept in the kitchen.

“They say Rottys are so bad, but I’ve talked to people who wouldn’t own anything else,” Mitkus said.

Police told the family that the pit bull hadn’t had its shots. While Frankee is up to date on his, Mitkus is nonetheless concern about her dog’s health.

She said she planned to call Frankee’s veterinarian just to make sure Frankee will be OK.

Patrick Meighan can be reached at 594-6518 or pmeighan@nashuatelegraph.com.


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