Dog saves St. Pete teenager from attacker

3:14 PM, Mar 23, 2012   |    comments
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St. Petersburg, Florida -- A St. Petersburg dog is being called a hero for helping to save a 17-year-old girl from an attack.

The teen was volunteering for the Friends of Strays animal shelter on a Saturday afternoon, a few weeks ago.

As she walked down a path behind the building with Mabeline, a Rhodesian Ridgeback mix, the girl was attacked.

Pinellas County deputies say Michael Bacon, a registered sexual predator, chased her down, grabbed her by the hair, then pinned her down.

The teen couldn't get loose, but the 38-pound dog did, scaring the attacker off, and allowing the girl to escape.

"To see something like that happen, it's just unfathomable," said Donna Thomas, from Friends of Strays, adding they've never had any problems before. "...a dog, its bark, its growl, and defending its owner, is always a deterrent."

But Mabeline, described as an "absolute sweetheart" is hardly what many think of as a guard dog.

Since the attack, she was adopted out.

The new owner, Mary Callahan, had no idea what her new four-legged friend had done, until 10 News told her.

"I looked at my dog and I thought, 'You are a hero,'" Callahan explained.

It's a feisty side Callahan hasn't seen, but she's glad to have the extra protection.

"I like that.  I like that a lot," she said.

The shelter said they are no longer allowing volunteers to walk dogs down the same path where the attack happened.

10 News also found out the attack victim couldn't adopt the dog herself because someone in the family is allergic.

As for the alleged assailant, Michael Bacon was arrested Monday and charged with false imprisonment.

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