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Family pit bull may pay the price for saving 11-year-old girl

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NORWICH, Conn. - A 21-month-old puppy is being hailed as a hero and a hazard.

Tank, a pit bull puppy, is locked up at the Norwich Animal Shelter, but it's not a punishment.

Tank has actually been a very good boy, according to the girl he saved.

Earlier this month, 11-year-old Savannah Vanase was tending to her chickens when Tank spotted a stranger in the coop.

"All of a sudden, my dog comes barking and sprinting under here. And I look under and there's this huge raccoon and I just don't know what to do. I just stood right here," she said.

In shock, she watched her snuggle buddy turn into super puppy.

"They were just tussling and the raccoon went on his back and scratched him on his face, and Tank kept trying to pounce on him," Savannah said.

Within minutes, Tank emerged the victor.

"I was really just proud of him," Savannah said.

Unfortunately, the fight may be fatal for Tank.

Experts say the raccoon had rabies when the two got into the fight.

Now, the pit bull needs to be quarantined in case he caught the disease.

"Basically, we're waiting to see if he gets any symptoms because the only way to test him is to euthanize him, so we're trying to avoid that step and give him his fair chance. It's the least I could do for saving my daughter," said Chris Vanase, Savannah's dad.

Vanase says Tank will be in quarantine for six months and the family is receiving precautionary rabies shots.

"If we have to put him down, he'll die as a hero. I'll know that he died for saving me, my family and my chickens," Savannah said.

Tank hasn't exhibited any symptoms of rabies but will not be released until July.

He was only overdue on his booster shot by a few days.

An animal control officer told WTIC that she never had a dog in rabies quarantine end up being infected.

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