The pit bull wagged its tail at first. Then it sank its teeth into Darryle Porter's ankle, touching off a harrowing incident in Oxon Hill in which a witness swung a baseball bat to rescue Porter, and police fired three shotgun blasts and two revolver shots to kill the dog.
Porter, 22, of Marlow Heights incurred injuries to his left foot, left arm and right hand in the attack, which began about 5 p.m. in the 1800 block of Clayton Drive.
He was released last night from Greater Southeast Community Hospital after receiving nine stitches.
The attack was the latest in the Washington area to involve a pit bull, a stocky, muscular breed, known for aggressiveness, tenacity and the strength of its jaws.
In the wake of a flood of reports in recent years about pit bull attacks here and elsewhere, ordinances have been proposed in many areas calling for restrictions on the animals.
In yesterday's incident, Porter said, he arrived at the Clayton Drive residence to visit a friend, and the dog approached him, wagging its tail and appearing playful, as he walked to his friend's door.
He patted the dog on the head. "The dog acted like he wanted to play," he said in an interview last night.
Porter's knock was not answered, and he turned to leave. The dog approached again. Again Porter patted its head, but this time, he said, the dog attacked.
The dog bit his left ankle. Porter said he kicked and punched the dog and tried to pry open the dog's jaws, but to no avail.
Then, said Joan Hamlin, who lives on Clayton Drive, her husband Donald saw what was happening and ran outside with a baseball bat and struck the animal.
Finally, according to witnesses, the dog released its grip and Hamlin and Porter raced to the safety of a neighbor's house.
Joan Hamlin had called police, and two Prince George's County police officers arrived. Sgt. R.M. Smith said he found the dog in a wooded area near the houses on Clayton Drive. He said the dog, estimated to weigh 80 pounds, charged at him.
Smith fired three blasts from a shotgun. The dog was wounded, he said, but it "didn't go down."
Cpl. Richard Rock fired two shots from his .38 caliber service revolver to kill the animal, police said.
Darnell Spencer, who said he was the owner of the pit bull, named Keeno, said he was not at home at the time of the incident.
He described himself as upset about the death of the animal, which he said "never messed with anybody."
On Sept. 30, a D.C. police officer shot and killed a pit bull that tried to attack him in the 600 block of Faraday Place NE.
The officer, who went there in response to a complaint, said he tried unsuccessfully to fend off the animal with his nightstick.