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

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NORWICH, Conn. -- A pit bull is locked up at an animal shelter after he rushed to the aid of his favorite 11-year-old girl, whose life he's credited with saving.

Tank is not even two years old in human years, but his life could be cut short because of what happened earlier this month.

Savannah Vanese, 11, was out tending to her chickens when Tank perked up and realized there was a stranger in the chicken 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 didn’t know what to do. I just stood right here,” said Savannah.

Tank was relentless in his protection over Savannah, who told FOX 4 sister station WTIC-TV, that "they were tussling and the raccoon went on his back and scratched him on his face and Tank kept trying to pounce on him."

Tank won the battle and killed the raccoon.

Unfortunately, the ending is not yet happy because the raccoon tested positive for rabies. That means Tank could have been infected, which is the reason for his quarantine.

Worse still, Tank must be quarantined for six long months.  Savannah's dad says he's not worried about the cost, he just wants Tank healthy.

"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.

Savannah can't visit Tank at the pound because she is a minor, so she's waiting until July for him to come home.

“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,” she said.

Her entire family has been getting precautionary rabies shots.

As for Tank, he hasn't shows any signs of rabies yet. His rabies shot was slightly overdue, but all hope it was enough to keep him from getting it.

A Norwich Animal Control officer said she has never had a dog in quarantine get rabies.

Courtesy: WTIC-TV

Courtesy: WTIC-TV