88-year-old veteran rescues girl from pit bull attack using lawn ornament

"It was just shaking her, just like a dog would grab a wild animal."

An 88-year-old Korean War veteran saved a 10-year-old girl’s life after he used a 2-foot tall Christmas nutcracker lawn ornament to beat an attacking pit bull off of her.

Leonard Miller was sitting in his kitchen on Sunday afternoon in Perry Township near Canton, Ohio, when somebody started banging on his front door. It was his panicked 13-year-old neighbor.

"She says the dog has got a hold of my sister and won’t let go, my little sister," Miller told ABC Cleveland affiliate WEWS-TV.

He immediately ran over to the house with the girl and managed to grab the plastic Christmas lawn ornament that was in the neighbor's yard before entering the home.

"That’s the only thing I could think of to grab when I went in," Miller explained.

Upon entering the home, he found a horrific scene -- a 10-year-old girl screaming on the ground with the family pit bull clamped onto her upper arm and shaking her violently.

"That dog had that little girl down on the floor and just growling and just shaking her," he recounted. "It was just shaking her, just like a dog would grab a wild animal."

Miller ran toward the dog with the ornament and began striking the animal on the head as hard as he could. But the dog would not let go.

"So then I hit him on the back, like this, just kept hitting him like this. That is when he let loose the little girl," Miller explained as he demonstrated how he was able to get the dog off of the child to WEWS-TV.

Both girls ran out of the home leaving Miller inside locked in a stare down with the violent dog and fearing he would be attacked himself. So he did the first thing that came to his mind -- he yelled at it.

"And I said ‘no!’ real loud about 3 or 4 times," Miller said, adding that he managed to escape through a back door and call 911.

He rushed back to his home where he was able to take care of the seriously wounded young victim before paramedics arrived.

"The medics and everything was here and they said you saved that girl's life," Miller described.

The little girl ended up suffering serious arm injuries that required surgery which she had on Monday, Miller told the station.

The family surrendered the dog voluntarily after the Stark County Dog Warden deemed it to be a vicious animal and, on Monday afternoon, it was euthanized.

After all that happened, however, the Korean war veteran doesn’t consider himself a hero.

"I couldn’t sleep last night so I am just glad I was there to help her," Miller said.