Deputy Police Director John Arnold is being hailed as a hero after saving a woman and her small dog from an attack by a pair of pit bulls on Christmas Eve.
According to Newark police spokesman Sgt. Ronald Glover, Arnold was in the area when the two dogs escaped from a yard on the 100 block of Wilbur Avenue around 8 a.m. and began mauling the small Shih-Tzu mix. In an attempt to stop the attack, the woman fell to the ground, injuring herself.
Arnold rushed over and was able to chase off the pit bulls, and stayed to aid the woman as police and medical responders rushed to the scene, Glover said.
The woman was treated for minor injuries at the scene, though the dog was seriously hurt and had to be taken to a local veterinary hospital. After being treated, it is expected to survive, according to Glover.
Police located the owner of the pit bulls shortly after, and advised her about their escape and the subsequent attack.
Arnold, a former candidate for Essex County Sheriff, was not available for comment Monday, but did respond to a Facebook post praising him for his response Christmas Day.
"I don't consider myself a hero, just a servant," he wrote. "I did what every officer I serve with in the NPD would do and that is put myself between our citizens and the danger their facing. My acts were instinctive and based upon years of training and experience."
In a statement, Police Director Eugene Venable said Arnold's quick decisions may have saved the woman from serious injury.
"I expect my officers to perform to a higher standard and as you see here we lead by example," he said.