Neighbor returns favor in dog-attack rescue

Mortgage banker John Nash Hale, 59, was up early on Jan. 14, 2013, so early it was still dark outside, and further, there was a heavy fog in his neighborhood of Toms River, N.J.  That was the setting as he ventured outside on hearing aggressive barking and screams for help.

Two pit bull dogs, weighing 85 and 65 pounds, were attacking his neighbor, Jeffrey E. Lenox, 49, as he was taking his pre-dawn walk.  As Hale left his home, calling out to see if help was needed, Lenox, although fighting the dogs, was able to make it to a neighbor’s house and gain safety.  Hearing Hale’s voice, the dogs approached and attacked him.

Hale fought back, kicking and punching the dogs, but his efforts were largely in vain. After taking him to the ground twice and then backing him into a driveway and pinning him against a garage door, Hale had “a surreal awareness of the possibility that I could die right there.”

Fortunately, voices called out from the darkness at that moment.  It was Lenox and the neighbor distracting the dogs, allowing Hale to escape to his home.  Both he and Lenox required hospital treatment for their bite wounds, and the dogs were put down a few days later.  Hale was named a recipient of the Carnegie Medal in September 2013.