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It's Time for Pit Bulls to get Some Positive Press; They're Not all Monsters

This courageous pit bull has proven itself to be man’s best friend—and hero—after it saved his owner from a 6-foot shark last month.

James White had been fishing off the coast of Bodega Bay in Sonoma County, California when he felt a hefty tug at the end of his line. Eager for a big catch, White told NBC News that he spent 10 minutes reeling it in only to find that he had hooked a massive sevengill shark.

When White tried to free the shark from his hook, it twisted, fell to the ground and reportedly bit down on his ankle, puncturing an artery in the process.

The fisherman tried to free his leg from the jaws of the predator, but to no avail. He then called to some nearby fishermen for help—but before they could get to him, Darby the pit bull rushed to his rescue.

Since there had been an abundance of traffic in the area, White had kept his 1-year-old canine companion in his jeep parked a few yards away from his fishing spot with the windows slightly rolled down. When Darby saw that his owner was in distress, however, he scratched at the car door until he managed to pull the handle open and run to White’s side.The fisherman tried to free his leg from the jaws of the predator, but to no avail. He then called to some nearby fishermen for help—but before they could get to him, Darby the pit bull rushed to his rescue.

The 100-pound pup then bit the shark on the gills, which only caused it to sink its teeth deeper into White’s ankle. When White told Darby to back off, the dog then grabbed the shark by the tail and pulled it off of his owner onto dry land.

After White was able to throw the shark back into the ocean, it swam away with little more than a few bite marks from the heroic pit bull—and White says that he was able to walk away with his foot still intact thanks to Darby.

Though White always knew Darby to be a sweet and playful dog, he never knew that the pup was capable of such bravery—and he is now eternally indebted to the dog for his actions.

“He’s been a part of the family from day one, just now a little more,” White told NBC. “If it wasn’t for him I would have been a lot worse.”

Pits Helping the Public!

LAKE WORTH, Fla. - A 5-year-old girl is recovering after being mauled in the face by a Labrador in her Lake Worth neighborhood. Her mother, Lucila Hernandez, is praising her pet pit bull, Trigger, for getting in the middle of the attack and saving the girl from being more seriously injured.

Hernandez says the Labrador, named Tank, was wandering outside, like she says many dogs do in their neighborhood.

She says Tank attacked her daughter, Remayah, who was riding her bike

Hernandez says Trigger reacted by jumping over their fence and attacking Tank.

“He’s like a hero. He’s like a protective dog. We taught him to be protective and caring for the family,” Hernandez said.

“He’s kind of a super hero,” said Remayah.

Tank was seriously injured and has been euthanized.

Remayah has had surgery and will be having plastic surgery, according to Hernandez.

Tank's owner, Nehemias Gaspar, says he doesn't know how his dog got outside, but was working when the incident happened.

"He was very friendly with all of the kids. He was a great dog. He was a very nice dog,” Gaspar said. That's why Gaspar says he thinks there is more to the story. Gaspar says he's seen Trigger jump the fence before and has even walked Trigger back home.

He believes Trigger jumped the fence and got into a fight with Tank before Remayah was around.

"I sincerely believe inside of me that my dog is innocent. It's very unfortunate what happen but I'm more worried about the girl now that my dog is gone," Gapsar said. Hernandez is hoping this won't happen to anyone else on their street in the future.

"This would have never happened to her if he would have kept his dog where he belongs: in the house or tied up," said Hernandez.

She said the family is having to use money they saved to take Remayah to Disney World to pay for her plastic surgery.

They have set up a Go Fund Me account to raise money to still take her to Disney World and get her mind off of the attack.

If you'd like to donate to a fund started to benefit the girl, visit

Copyright 2014 Scripps Media, Inc.

Stray Pit Bull Saves Woman, Child From Attacker

PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. -- The wandering 65-pound Pit Bull mix might have seemed menacing to some passerby, but one woman will always remember him as her "guardian angel."

The dog, which authorities think is lost and not a stray, successfully thwarted a robbery attack on a mother and her 2-year-old son, who were held at knifepoint Monday afternoon.

The Florida woman, who has been identified by authorities simply as "Angela," was leaving a playground with her toddler son in Port Charlotte when a man approached her in the parking lot with a knife and told her not to make any noise or sudden movements.

Angela didn't have to do either to protect herself and her child -- a dog mysteriously ran to the scene and charged the man, who quickly fled.

"I don't think the dog physically attacked the man, but he went at him and was showing signs of aggression, just baring his teeth and growling and barking. It was clear he was trying to defend this woman," Animal Control Lt. Brian Jones told Pet Pulse.

"I don't know what this man's intentions were, but it is very possible this dog saved her life."

The exceptional part of the story, Jones said, is that the dog had never met or even seen the people it quickly jumped to defend.

"You hear about family dogs protecting their owners, but this dog had nothing to do with this woman or her kid," Jones said. "He was like her guardian angel."

After the alleged thief ran away, Angela quickly placed her son, Jordan, in the car and tried to drive off. Before she could, though, the dog jumped into her backseat, waiting with her for the police and animal control officers to arrive at the scene.

The dog was transported to a local shelter and if his owners don't step forward within five days, Jones said, Angela and her family plan to adopt the savior she named "Angel."

Animal control officers and shelter workers believe Angel is lost, and not a stray, because of his good health, sturdy weight and mild temperament.

"It's funny, that someone's irresponsibility could have saved someone's life," Jones said of Angel's possible owners.

For Angela, it doesn't matter where the dog came from, just that he was there when she needed him most.

"I don't know what his [the thief's] intentions were -- I don't know why he did it, but I'm glad that -- we call him Angel -- I'm glad that Angel showed up because I don't know what would have happened," Angela told NBC2 News.

Organization that cared for Vick dogs wants call from president

BY Angelique Reed

SALT LAKE CITY-When President Barack Obama gave the Philadelphia Eagles a high-five for allowing quarterback Michael Vick to play again, it gave someone else a bright idea.

Best Friends Animal Society co-founder Francis Battista took in more than 20 of Michael Vick's dogs and nourished them back to health, now he would like a call from the president for his "Vicktory dogs," as he calls them.

"I wanted to, just while this thing is out there and is so topical, I wanted to bring some attention to these dogs who are sort of the forgotten piece of this whole conversation," Battista said.

Best Friends took in 22 of the least adoptable Vick dogs, and many of them have been transformed by the staff.

"They've been through alot," Battista said. "They're amazing animals, they're a real testament to the spirit of these dogs and how they've rebounded and come back."

He doesn't know if the call will ever come from the White House, he just doesn't want the dogs to be forgotten, since they were the victims.

On the Best Friends Animal Society Blog, Battista has written up what he would say if the president called. The conversation will start something like this:

"Mr. President, what a surprise! Thanks for taking the time out of your busy schedule to commend us for giving the Vicktory dogs a second chance. Sure, I've got a few minutes to fill you in...kind of a presidential briefing, I guess."

Five dogs have been adopted out, seven are headed to foster homes, and the rest are trying to earn their canine good citizenship certifications to prove they can get along with people.

On the blog, Battista says many of the dogs still at the sanctuary have health issues. Some have bebesia, a blood parasite that spreads among fighting dogs and flares up occasionally. He also says some dogs have immune problems, which veterinarians speculate came from excessive use of steroids. He does say, however, that the dogs continue to make progress.

Vick was sentenced to 23 months in prison. In 2007, he admitted he financed a dogfighting operation out of his home and helped kill dogs that did not perform well in fights.

Happy Tails: Saving a starved and scarred Pit Bull

The dog's appearance was enough to make a person cry. He was starved and looked like a skeleton. Walking was hard for him, and he was riddled with scars.

Nevertheless, the good folks at Adams County Pet Rescue in Ritzville, Wash., knew he deserved a chance and took him in and placed him in a foster home.

It didn't seem likely, however, that he would be adopted. He was in bad shape and, in addition, he was a Pit Bull Terrier, a much maligned breed. Nevertheless, his photo and description were placed on Petfinder. In addition to compassion, his rescuers and foster dad had an abundance of hope.

Carrie Hawley of Coeur d'Alene was mourning over the loss of her eight-year-old American Pit Bull Terrier, Bella, who had died of lymphoma. "I had a huge hole in my heart and could not stop the tears," she says. She and her partner started looking on Petfinder at all of the Pit Bulls that needed homes, knowing many would never be adopted.

"The media hype helped create a massive fear and hatred for a dog that served in two world wars and was once called the 'Nanny Dog' because of their love for children and devotion to family," she says.

Still she wasn't really ready to open herself to the grief she was feeling over Bella's death. Then "one evening something told me to look [on Petfinder] again," she says, and when she did, she and her partner found Sam (aka Sammy Blu).

She knew at once that the dog needed them as much as they needed him. "He was full of scars, and a healed-up old wound created terrible pain in his hip. He could barely walk on it." He had been a breeder and was also used as a bait dog in dog fights, she says.

Today, in his new home with Carrie, his ribs no longer show and his backbone is almost back to normal. Everyone had thought the starved dog was all white, but as he regains his health, his fur is growing back with tan markings.

"How could anyone not want him?" Carrie wonders. "He's the most precious Pit Bull ever to exist, with a huge heart for love and a sense of humor, and he loves to play and cuddle in our arms. Thanks to someone who saw the light in his beautiful eyes, he's my boy."