Deputy says he was forced to shoot pit bull to save himself

Pasco County Deputy Brent Taber wasn't quite sure what day it was.  The past 48 hours have been a blur to him.

"I thought I would lose my life, so certainly I thought I could lose my arm," said Taber, who has been with the Pasco County Sheriff's office for three-and-a-half years.

Deputy Taber said he was in a Zephyrhills neighborhood serving a warrant when he thought a woman flagged him down.  

She didn't.  

But Taber said her dog tore into his arm.  "He would not let go of my arm, no matter how hard I tried.  There was blood everywhere.  There were also children in the neighborhood, and I was very aware of that and concerned about their safety," said Taber.

He said he remembers the pit bull broke through a fence to get to him.  The dog was so powerful, it dragged him out of his cruiser.

"Once the bite was over, I looked and I could see the insides of my arm coming out.  I thought this should hurt, but it doesn't," said Taber.

Doctors said he was in shock.  He went through surgery and needed several stitches.  He said doctors at Tampa General Hospital saved his arm.

"I always thought I could beat a dog in a fight.  You think that as a law enforcement officer that you think you can.  But this dog would have killed me," said Taber.

The deputy ended up being able to draw his weapon.  One bullet, he said, didn't end the struggle.  It took several.

A dog lover himself, he said he was forced to take the desperate measure to save his life.

"I don't like the idea of hurting dogs.  I Love dogs.  I have dogs myself, but this was my last resort.  I knew I did not have a choice.  He would have killed me," said Taber.

He doesn't know when he will be ok to work, but Taber looks forward to going back and serving the public, and doesn't believe the attack will make him wary when he sees a dog.  "I'm confident I will be able to give 100 percent," said Taber.

The owner of the dog was cited for failure to contain the animal properly and failure to tag the animal properly.

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