Family credits 3-legged dog for saving their lives during armed robbery

Three-legged pit bull that saves family multiple times gets award

A Janesville family said what greeted an armed robber at their door last week was not only a shock to the intruder, but also helped save their lives.

Levi, a 15-year-old pit bull, might not look much like a threat with only three legs, but his family credits him with saving their lives after an armed robber got into their home last week.

Darcy Cherry and her boyfriend, Bob Stenzel, were at home around 6:15 p.m. on Jan. 19 when a masked man  dressed in black and holding a gun walked through their back door.

“I was just praying and praying and praying for us all to be safe,” Cherry said. “His gun was drawn on us and demanded us to the ground and repeatedly asked us where’s the safe and where is the money.”

The couple had forgotten to lock their door, and there was no money or safe to give the man. When Levi saw the intruder pointing the gun at his owners, he began to growl and bark at the man in hopes of scaring him away.

“Not more than a minute after that, the person fired on Levi right in the head,” Stenzel said.

The bullet grazed Levi’s head and went into his shoulder. The intruder ran off without physically stealing anything, but still took something valuable away.

“The heart wrench of what this individual did to my family,” Cherry said.

It’s not the first time Levi has been the family hero. In 2014, he took a fall off the edge of a trail. The fall shattered his leg and required amputation. Cherry said Levi’s fall protected her son, who was just feet behind the dog, from falling first.

If that wasn’t enough, Levi survived being dognapped in 2014 in broad daylight.

Cherry said a neighbor saw the vehicle and wrote down the license plate number, police stopped the van and brought Levi home the same day.

“This dog is just meant to be with us. He is not meant to go anywhere, it’s just crazy,” she said.

It’s Levi’s spirit of resilience that the couple said continues to inspire them.

“He is amazing. He bounces back so fast. I wish I could have his strength and his mobility to just come back and be so loving-natured,” Cherry said.

“It’s a feeling you can’t really express in words. I mean, thank God he was here and he protected us,” Stenzel said.

Levi is on medication but will make a full recovery. Police are still looking for the robber, who they describe as white, in his 20s or 30s, with a slender built and blue eyes. Anyone with information is asked to call the Janesville Police Department.