BALTIMORE, Md. - Rob Widerman had no intention of becoming a hero.
He was simply working as a groundskeeper at Carroll Park Golf Course last May when he was thrust into that role.
"I was just working and I happened to notice a couple of kids beating on something,” recalled Widerman, “I made my way over to them and they started running after I got done chasing them and they got past me and got loose, I went back and noticed there was a dog lying there that had been beaten."
While many people view pit bulls as one of the most vicious breeds of dogs, the abused eight-week old puppy didn’t even have its adult teeth yet and weighed less than six pounds.
"All the bones were broken in its body,” said Widerman, “I guess it stayed alive for about an hour and then passed away."
On this day, animal advocates in Baltimore are celebrating a first---rewarding Widerman with a $3,000 check for coming to the dog’s defense and helping police catch the three kids, all under the age of 12, who were responsible for the beating.
"It's very important that abusers are held accountable whether they're 10 years old or 50 years old and that starts with the public reporting these crimes, so we commend Mr. Widerman for doing this. Thank you," said Mayor’s Anti-Animal Abuse Task Force Chair Caroline Griffin.
While the Good Samaritan didn’t hesitate in trying to come to the puppy’s rescue, he admits that testifying against the children in court was a different matter.
"Well, I was a little nervous because I thought maybe some people would come up to the golf course... maybe some relatives or somebody may have seen me and came up and tried to do something to me. I was a little nervous though. I was getting ready to change my mind about going to court, but I said, 'No. Let me go ahead and do this and whatever happens happens. I'll just play my cards out and see what happens,’" said Widerman.
What’s happened since is a drop off in reports of animal abuse across the city, which city leaders attribute to the first case in some time that had ended with a prosecution.
The Snyder Foundation For Animals put up the money for the reward calling its program a form of Crime Stoppers to catch the abusers of defenseless animals.
Widerman says he’ll probably use the money to pay off a few bills.
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