Family dog shot during attack on two-year-old

Chris Schafer used this gun to shoot the dog.
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Jeremy Brilliant/Eyewitness News

Indianapolis - A two-year-old east side girl is recovering after being attacked by her family's dog. The attack was so violent her father said he had no choice but to shoot the animal. It happened Wednesday night in the 1400 block of North Tuxedo.

Several children, including the two-year-old, were playing in the backyard Wednesday night. The dog, Snowball, was tethered nearby.

"She stepped over by him, petted him, leaned her head over on his head. He snatched her up," said Chris Schafer, the girl's father.

In an instant, the seven-year-old shepherd-chow mix bit the girl on the shoulder, neck and nose.

"My ten-year-old was trying to kick at it to get it off. She couldn't get him off, so my first instinct was shoot the dog. Get the dog off my kid," said Schafer.

After firing a single shot from his .40-caliber pistol and hitting the dog in the shoulder, Chris Schafer called 911.

"I'm scared I'm going to go to jail for shooting my dog but I couldn't get it off my daughter," Schafer told the dispatch operator.

"No, it's okay," said the operator.

"She's only two. She's got bite marks all over. It had her by the neck," said Schafer.

Police say criminal charges will not be filed in this case because they say the father acted well within his rights to protect himself and his family.

"It appears that he had pushed the dog off the child and the child had turned to run and the dog was going to chase and pin the child down again and was at that point in time it sounds is when he took the action to shoot the animal," said Sgt. Linda Jackson, IMPD.

"Never used it. Didn't think I'd ever have to use it," said Schafer.

Schafer says he didn't have much time to think. He just reacted.

"I couldn't really think of choice. I just had to think of her safety. That was my choice. My kids are my life. I brought them here and I'll be damned if I'm going to see an animal take 'em out," said Schafer.

Schafer's daughter was checked out at the hospital for her injuries, which turned out to be mostly superficial.

Snowball was taken to Animal Care and Control but had to be put down because of the extent of the injury caused by the bullet.