MUNSTER — An eight-year-old boy was injured Wednesday in a pit bull attack, police said, resulting in his two-year-old brother walking away from the incident unscathed.
When Sacha Pchelenkov, 8, saw his mother trying to get a large dog off of his 2-year-old brother, Micha Moore, he immediately jumped into action. The boy ran into the fray, attempting to rescue his sibling.
“He was screaming, ‘Leave my brother!’” Tatiana Moore, the boys' mother said. “And he grabbed the dog and tried to pull the dog back.”
Moore said that is when the dogs turned their attention to her oldest son, leaving her two-year-old unharmed.
“I did not expect this from [Sacha] because he’s afraid of dogs,” she said. “I thought he would run inside, which would have been ok with me, but I did not expect him to jump on the dog. But he did it, without thinking of his fears.”
Moore told police she was on a neighbor's porch in the 200 block of Belmont Place with Micha about 4 p.m. Wednesday when two pit bulls ran up and one pinned her child to the ground with its paws, licking and biting at his head.
Moore said she believed the dogs approached her son because they were familiar with him. During walks, she said her youngest son often stops to say “hello” when they see the two dogs in their fenced yard. She said the bites were not hard enough to cause injury to her 2-year-old.
A neighbor came out and attempted to place the 8-year-old on the hood of a car to stop the attack, but the dogs would not let go, Munster police Lt. Ed Strbjak said.
Another neighbor came out with a bat, and the adults were able to chase the dogs off. The dogs ran back to their home in the 300 block of Belmont.
Police arrived, assisted with medical care and began an investigation, Strbjak said.
An ambulance was called to the scene for the boys, he said.
Moore sympathizes with the dogs and said she believes that it began as rough play.
“They’ve never been a problem before,” Tatiana Moore said. “I know it sounds weird for me to say, as the mother of the kids attacked, but they didn’t seem aggressive, just rough. I think it started as a game to them, but when other people came out and things started happening, they got aggressive and into protective mode, which is understandable; They’re animals, it’s their instinct.”
Pchelenkov has deep puncture wounds on his thigh and multiple scratches and puncture wounds on his face, police said. Moore is glad to report that her family is doing fine and that her oldest son is recovering well. Friday, the family took their routine walk around the block, with Pchelenkov happily riding his bike in tow.
Asked if he would do it all over again, the chipper eight-year-old responded, “Yeah, but only if they get out of the cage again.”
The dog's owner was cited for the dogs being out without a leash. The dogs were placed in quarantine for 10 days at a Crown Point facility.
Munster police have no previous reports involving the two dogs. However, police were checking the dogs' history in other communities as part of their investigation, Strbjak said.
Since reports of the incident were released, the mother said that many have been calling her son a hero. That’s the reason Moore said she is talking about the situation, to show her son that his courage did not go unnoticed. The boy’s family and taekwondo coach have shared news of the story, congratulating Pchelenko for his courage.
“I wanted him to feel the value of what he did,” Moore said. “That he took action, even if it hurt. That’s what raises you, that’s what will make him a man… His taekwondo coach said it was his taekwondo spirit that helped.”
Times staff writer Anna Ortiz contributed to this report.