MOBILE, Ala. (WKRG) — We know dogs are loyal, but one man showed his loyalty to his dog after saving his life from a stray dog.

Robert Rivers lives on Markham Drive. He says on Monday a stray dog attacked his dog as he was checking his mailbox.

Rivers says he did not want to kill the dog, so he put it to sleep in order to protect his dog and himself from the stray dog.

“I took my arm around him in what we call a Ji-a-teen in Ju-Jitsu. He started to go asleep,” Rivers said. “I let go for a second, and he lunged at me, which he got me a little bit in the forearm.”

Rivers says he strongly believes without his training in martial arts, his dog wouldn’t have made it out of the attack alive.

“He latches onto my dog at this point. So, I try a whole bunch of strikes, and nothing is working. I realized that I have to go over his neck, and I step over him,” Rivers said.

Rivers is concerned for those who are not trained in self-defense…especially children.

The one thing I can get past to anybody is to learn self-defense because I was just taking out my

trash,” Rivers said. “Now all of a sudden I’m in a fight for my life because at first, I’m just breaking up a dog fight but then as soon as he let go of my dog now I’m in a fight because he’s trying to kill me.”

WKRG News 5 talked to the city of Mobile Animal Control about the attack.

David Lower with animal control says Rivers did what he had to do in order to protect himself and both dogs. Lower says the dog is now safe at the Mobile Animal Shelter.

A contributing factor to the problem is a high stray cat population in the city of Mobile, Lower says.

“Try to stay away from feeding them. Try to keep them from coming back,” said Lower. “That makes more of a problem. Including feral cats and stuff like that… it just increases the population.”

Mobile Animal Control officials opened their first department of animal services in September.

Since then they have nearly doubled their staff in hopes to protect the city.