Omaha man shoots and kills dog that had latched onto neighbor’s hand

An Omaha man said he had no choice Tuesday but to shoot a pit bull that was attacking his neighbor.

The incident occurred about 4:45 p.m. near 83rd and Manderson Streets, according to a police report. Patricia Garber, 59, told police that she was using a stick to get her son’s 2-year-old pit bull, Crucifix, into the house when the dog latched onto her right hand and wouldn’t let go.

A neighbor, Dave Kovar, 39, heard Garber yelling for help and tried to get the dog to let go of Garber. When it wouldn’t, Kovar went into his house to retrieve a .22-caliber handgun and call 911.

“She didn’t hit the dog with the stick,” Kovar said Wednesday. “She was just waving it and telling the dog to go inside. All of a sudden, the dog grabbed her and wouldn’t let go. It was horrible.”

When Kovar returned, according to a police report, Garber yelled for Kovar to “just shoot him.” Kovar fired one round through a chain-link fence, striking the dog in the back of the head and killing it.

Garber was taken to the Nebraska Medical Center in serious condition. She was listed Wednesday in fair condition.

“It was just crazy,” Kovar said in a phone interview. “The dog snapped and wouldn’t let go of her hand. It went on for about 5 minutes. There really wasn’t anything else to do (but shoot the dog) because it was tearing her hand apart.”

Police arrived to find paramedics bandaging Garber’s right hand. Officers located the gun next to the dead dog with the magazine ejected. The gun was properly registered to Kovar.

“I didn’t want to shoot the dog by any means because I love dogs,” Kovar said. “It was a life-and-death situation. I’m not sure she would’ve made it until police arrived. I couldn’t stand by and watch the dog maul her.”

The Nebraska Humane Society retrieved the dog’s body for forensic testing.

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