VALPARAISO — A 3-year-old pit bull named Ruger saved his family from an intruder early Wednesday morning.
The man who forced his way into their home and a suspected accomplice got away but left behind a trail of blood.
Jayne Casteel said she was changing her son’s diaper at 3 a.m., with the front room lit only by a night light, when she heard a knock at the door. Through the peephole, she saw the same stranger who had come to their door two weeks before, asking for a man named “John.” With the chain lock engaged, Casteel cracked the door about 2 inches, and the man asked to use her phone because his car had broken down.
Her phone was broken and she said so, but the man responded, “Oh, really?” as he kicked through the screen door and pushed open the main door, breaking the chain, according to the police report.
She screamed as the man knocked her to the ground and Ruger, who had come to the door with the family’s other two dogs as soon as they heard the knock, immediately clamped down on the intruder’s right arm.
Casteel said Ruger dragged the man backward and out to the side of the building. “He barely got in the house,” she said.
Casteel’s fiance, Nathan Asbridge, and a friend who lives with them also responded to her screams and the cries of their 2-year-old. Both men repeatedly punched the stranger and a second man, who they found waiting outside, before they escaped on foot. Ruger also got in a second bite, on the intruder’s leg.
Ruger’s usually a big baby, Casteel said, and she’s never been afraid to have him near their son. She believes the toddler’s crying — he was standing right next to her when the intruder pushed her down — helped spur the dog to action.
The family deliberately trained Ruger to be protective when the boy was a newborn.
“I’m so proud of him,” Casteel said.
Two shoes with blood on them and a glove believed to belong to the unknown men were found outside the family’s home. Police found small amounts of blood also on the sidewalk in front of the home and in an alley nearby, but a police canine was unsuccessful in tracking the men.
Casteel described the intruder as wearing dark-colored basketball shorts without a shirt, of average height and weighing approximately 200 pounds. None of the witnesses were able to describe the man who stayed outside.