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Student-athlete attacked by pit bull

Nelson Kahler sits in his hospital bed after being attacked by a pit bull. | Photo courtesy of Nelson Kahler
Nelson Kahler sits in his hospital bed after being attacked by a pit bull. | Photo courtesy of Nelson Kahler

A Colorado State University-Pueblo student athlete was attacked by a pit bull on Feb. 6., around 1 a.m. on Constitution Road. Basketball player Nelson Kahler escaped the attack with only minor hand and foot injuries. The pit bull also attacked a group of nearby police officers, leaving them no choice but to tase it and put it down.

Kahler said he and his friends were pulling up to a friend’s house to celebrate after a 90-83 victory over Metro State College. The 21-year-old Australian-native recalled walking up the sidewalk toward his friend’s house, when they spotted a pit bull running up the sidewalk at them, full speed. Nelson said that the owner frantically tried to chase it and attempted to dive on top of the dog, but missed, and when the dog reached them, it bit one of his friends on the foot.

After biting his friend, the dog turned its attention toward the six-foot-nine-inch Kahler, biting down on his ankle. Kahler said he remembered reaching down in an attempt to pry the animal’s jaws from his ankle, only to have the dog latch its jaws onto his left hand. Kahler quickly pulled his bloody hand from the dog’s mouth before it had time to lock down.

“If it had locked on, it would have taken my pinky off,” Kahler said.

According to a study by Brady Barr of National Geographic, domesticated dogs such as pit bulls and German shepherds can bite down with as much as 320 pounds of force, almost three times the capability of the average human.

Once his hand was free, Kahler said he remembered taking cover behind a car for safety as the dog sprinted up the street toward a couple of police officers, who happened to be performing a routine traffic stop less than one-hundred feet away. Kahler believed the lights of the police car are what caught the dog’s attention.

Kahler recalled hearing a stun gun go off, followed by the owner’s plea to the officers to kill the dog, as the owner didn’t believe they would be able to gain control of the animal, he said.

Five gunshots rang out, and the dog lied dead in the street. Still in a state of shock, Kahler recalled speaking to police before paramedics arrived on the scene to treat the wounds he and his friend had received.

Kahler’s friend was virtually unscathed, while Kahler was sent to the ER where he received an IV injection, a tetanus shot and a hand wrap.

Kahler said there was no bone damage to his hand, although he did receive a few gashes and a single deep puncture wound on his palm.

The Pueblo Police Department and Pueblo Animal Control could not comment as to the identity of the owner, as the case is still under investigation. However, Pueblo Animal Control did say the owner has been served with charges of ownership of a dangerous animal, dog at large and having a pet without a rabies vaccination.

Kahler plans to take the owner to court, but only to get his medical bills paid for. He was also unable to practice the following week, until Feb. 11, when he wrapped his hand in protective padding and fully participated in the team’s practice.

He started Friday night’s game against Adams State, Feb. 12, scoring 12 points while getting 9 rebounds and 3 blocks in an 85-78 loss to the Grizzlies.

Kahler is currently CSU-Pueblo’s team leader in field goal percentage and leads the entire RMAC conference in blocks per game.