LEXINGTON COUNTY, SC (WIS) - A Lexington teen is being called a hero after saving his friend from an attacking pit bull.
Most of us would naturally rush to help if we saw our friend being attacked by a dog, but the father of 13-year old Ryan Pierce says it was not stepping in that saved his son's life.
"Oh my gosh, please God help me, please help Ryan and please make this stop," said Bill Foster, recounting the frantic thoughts rushing through his head as he watched his friend being mauled by a vicious dog.
Foster and Ryan were walking down Barretts Way to Ryan's house on Wednesday, when an escaped pit bull attacked them. "We almost got to his house, just turned around and saw the dog coming right at us," said Bill.
Bill climbed a nearby tree in a flash, but the dog locked its jaws onto Ryan and started tearing at his flesh. "To have to sit there and watch that happen to one of your best friends in the world is pretty terrible," said Foster.
Bill was frightened, but not helpless. "I was calm and thought, first instinct, call my mom," described Ryan. "She's the closest adult that was home."
Bill's mom was able to pull Ryan into her car, but the dog continued to attack. "They were punching the dog in the face and slamming the door on it, and it just wouldn't let go," he said.
Ryan's injuries are severe, but his father says Bill's quick thinking saved the 13-year-old's life. "Had you done anything differently, I feel Ryan would've died and you would have joined him, or at the very least been severely injured yourself," Joe Pierce told Bill on Friday.
With Ryan recovering, Joe was able to tell Bill how much his actions mean to the Pierces. "I think we miss the chances in life to say to people what we think of them because we just assume there will be more time, and it could make us feel uncomfortable," he said.
But thanks to Bill, Ryan and his family still have time to call their friend a hero. "I know he'd do the same for me, and I'm just glad he's not more hurt than he already is," said Bill.
Ryan's injuries are to the right side of his face, both his legs and on the arm near his wrist. He is recovering at Palmetto Health Children's Hospital after undergoing surgery.
The owner of the dog lived just up the street. Neighbors say the owner is very remorseful about the attack, and has no idea how the dog got out. The owner was given three citations, and we're told the dog will be put down.
The dog responsible for the attack was eventually surrendered to the county, but Mergo says the owner has been issued two citations for violation of the county's restraint law and a third for not having up-to-date rabies vaccinations. Mergo said the rabies violation was for a separate dog that was not involved in the attack.
This is the second attack involving a pit bull in Lexington County this week. On Thursday, a 13-year-old girl was hospitalized after a pit bull attacked her near her home on Bethlehem Circle. A deputy had to shoot and kill the dog to be able to free the girl. She remains hospitalized.