Jeffery A. Houlemard saved Hunter M. Mastaler from an attacking dog, Hesperia, California, February 8, 2015. Hunter, 4, was in the backyard of his family’s house when an unsecured 75-pound Belgian Malinois, a police dog, attacked him, biting him about a leg and holding him to the ground. At his home nearby, Houlemard, 34, electronics technician, was alerted to the attack. He responded to the scene, where he broke down a wooden gate to gain access to the fenced-in backyard. Houlemard kicked the dog, but it did not release the boy. Then bending over it, Houlemard grasped the dog by the muzzle and pried open its mouth, releasing Hunter’s leg. Others responding took the boy to safety as Houlemard used his body weight to hold the dog to the ground. Hunter’s father responded shortly and secured the dog. Hunter required hospitalization for treatment of a severe injury to his leg, and Houlemard injured his shoulder during the rescue, later requiring surgery.
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