Dion Roach awoke to the sound of his dog Chai barking at 3:30 in the morning on Jan. 7, went outside and saw what looked like a German Shepherd in his yard.
"I didn't have my contacts in, so my vision wasn't good," Roach recalled.
He kept Chai, a vanilla colored lab, back to keep her safe and approached the animal in his yard.
"It was shivering, so I felt bad," Roach said of the other dog.
Being a dog lover, Roach decided to keep the stray in his garage to get it out of the cold, while he checked for a tag to help find its owner.
He leaned down to see if it was wearing a collar when suddenly it lunged at him.
"It snapped at me," Roach said. "I kicked it and ran back toward the house."
The animal had sunk its teeth into Roach's chin and he recoiled and cried out in pain, Chai came to his defense and started barking at the other dog, which walked off toward Georges Lane.
Roach's mother looked at his chin. "She told me a piece of my chin was hanging off in a clump — and I couldn’t look at it," Roach said. "If I did, I would probably have puked. She said it was horrible and bloody. There was blood all over my black Jimi Hendrix shirt and my face was covered."
Roach went to the St. Vincent's Medical Center's emergency room for treatment and received around 27 stitches on the outside of his chin and nine on the inside.
"I had to get plastic surgery," he said. "It got me good."
A Search for the Dog
Animal Control Officer Ed Risko said Roach never saw the dog before and police officers searched the neighborhood door-door looking for a German Shepherd, but were unable to find a dog matching the description.
No dogs matching the description had been reported missing and there were no reports of an animal roaming the area prior to or after the incident, Risko added.
The case remains open for 14 days from the incident, the local health department was notified and, though this is inconsistent with normal wildlife behavior, the State Department of Energy & Environmental Protection's Wildlife Division was also notified, according to Risko.
Roach finds himself looking out the window for the animal every so often. "I’ve been keeping alert," he said. "If I see it, I'll call police."
Proud of Chai
Roach said Chai is a good dog, who's "very smart" and sleeps right next to her Daddy at bedtime. If not for the lab jumping to his defense following the bite, Roach believes he could have been in even worse shape.
"I'm actually proud of her," he said.
After the attack, Roach had his dog checked out too and said his pet came out unscathed.
If Roach ever wakes up to a noise again, he promises to use more caution.
He said, "The next time I hear my dog bark to alert me something’s around, I ain't going outside."