FALL RIVER (CBS) – Police say a Fall River man seriously injured a pit bull when he allegedly stabbed it in an effort to stop a fight between two dogs.

The incident happened on Saturday around 7:30 p.m. on South Main Street and King Philip Street.

Officers found several people arguing and nearby a dog was lying on the ground bleeding from several stab wounds.

Witnesses said the owner of a pit bull named Smokey said she was walking the leashed dog when a small white dog that was not on a leash came up to her.

The woman said the white dog became aggressive and attacked Smokey. At that time the white dog’s owner arrived and began yelling for help from several other men.

Smokey’s owner told police that as she separated the dogs, a man identified as William Whitson ran up to her, grabbed the pit bull around the neck with his arm and stabbed Smokey five times.

After the alleged stabbing, the woman says she ran across the street in fear.

Whitson told officers that while he was trying to separate the dogs, Smokey bit his hand and would not let go, so he stabbed the dog until it released its grip.

According to police, Whitson has a small cut between his thumb and index finger.

The pit bull was taken to a Swansea animal hospital where it is listed in critical condition.

Whitson was arrested and charged with cruelty to animal, disturbing the peace while armed and assault with a dangerous weapon.

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