It was just another day for Postal Service mail carrier Mark Pizzo as he delivered parcels and packages in Rock Hill two weeks ago.
“I was doing the end part of my route (and) pulled up to the cul-de-sac,” Pizzo said.
But he quickly noticed something wasn’t right.
“I see the dog struggling with the little girl,” Pizzo said.
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It didn’t take Pizzo long to realize if he didn’t act, something terrible was about to happen.
“I yelled out of my truck. When I yelled out of my truck, nothing happened,” Pizzo told WBTV, the Observer’s news partner. “Then I heard her scream. I’ll never forget the scream. The scream I will never forget for as long as I live.”
Pizzo said he ran towards the 7-year-old girl, whose head was gripped in the jaws of a neighbor’s pit bull.
“The dog had started to pull the child away from me, so I knew the dog didn’t want to let go. At that point I struck the dog until it let go of her,” Pizzo said.
For a second, Pizzo said the dog shifted its attention toward him.
“I was hoping that was going to happen,” Pizzo said.
The 10-year postal veteran says he threw the little girl on a trampoline to get her out of harm’s way. The dog, however, wasn’t done.
“The dog jumped up on the trampoline to go after her again,” Pizzo said.
Finally, Pizzo and a neighbor were able to get the dog under control. The little girl was rushed to the hospital, where she received seven staples in her head.
“Some people say I saved her life, but do I know that? I stopped the situation from what was happening. That’s all that mattered to me,” Pizzo said.
Tuesday morning, Pizzo will receive an award for his bravery, but that’s hardly what matters to him.
“The important part is she’s OK and I was there to help,” Pizzo said.
The dog was picked up by York County Animal Control, where he was euthanized.
Pizzo says mail carriers go through extensive training in how to handle dogs and even carry dog spray with them.
“I’ve been bit before; I’m a mailman. It’s part of the job.”
According to the U.S. Postal Service, 5,500 mail carriers were attacked by dogs last year.