American Top Team Rockledge instructor Dennis Davidson is man of high morals, and he lives by what he says.
He proved that last week when he made headlines both inside and outside of the jiu-jitsu media by wrestling an animal abuser to the ground and holding him there until the police arrived.
“Ultimately, I feel that the strong have a moral obligation to stand up for the weak when the weak cannot stand up for themselves,”Davidson told The Jiu-Jitsu Times in an exclusive interview. ” I acted in a manner that I hope any BJJ black belt would. We all train so hard, and rep the self-defense for this very reason.”
It all started on a warm day in Florida. Dennis and his wife, Claire, were driving with the windows down while on their way to dinner.
Suddenly, they noticed a man chasing around a clearly petrified dog. The man was later identified as John Snell.
“The dog was noticeably scared and cowering,” Davidson said. “The man was noticeably angry, shouting obscenities at the dog such as ‘Get over here you, motherfucker.’ Both my wife and I are animal lovers. My wife asked me to stop and make sure the dog would be okay.”
Unfortunately, the dog wasn’t the only one in danger.
“We noticed the man and the dog were now close to several other concerned citizens, most of whom were female and noticeably nervous and or scared by the man and the situation.”
Yet unbeknownst to Snell, he was the only one in danger. When he made the mistake of coming at Davidson’s wife, yelling and pointing the finger at her, he paid the price dearly.
“When I observed the individual coming at my wife aggressively, I stepped in between them, pushing the man backwards a bit, and warning him not to come at her again. At that time, he came at me with his hand raised. He attempted to throw a strike at my face…I parried and slipped his strike, moving to his back immediately, and sinking in the choke standing. I then pulled him backwards away from the people (including my wife), and then pulled him down to the ground and set my hooks.”
Davidson was clearly at risk while holding Snell down from the back. Even though the animal abuser was almost certainly not a skilled martial artist, he still could have accidentally or intentionally infected the ATT instructor with any number of diseases.
Still, staying true to his altruistic worldview, Dennis Davidson’s primary concern was the people around him.
“My main concern was for the safety of my wife and others. I was, however, concerned that if he scratched me, or bit me, or something of that nature, that I might be exposed to some sort of disease. As a result of that, after giving him several warnings to not reach back at me, I had to put him to sleep.”
The police thankfully arrived before Snell could hurt anyone else, including himself. The authorities reviewed the tape and concluded that Davidson had acted lawfully.
Snell told the police that he was just playing with his dog, though he admitted it looked bad. The latest reports stated he was being held on animal abuse charges.
And what about the dog in this incident?
“The animal was taken to a shelter, where she still is today. My wife Claire and I went in to adopt the dog. We were told it is part of a pending criminal investigation due to the incident and must remain there until that is resolved. My wife and I plan to adopt the dog after this is over.”
Hopefully, it will be over quickly.