Justin Peggs says he feared the dog would attack him after he wrestled it off Kathleen James and held it down.
The 22-year-old, who says he weighs 400 pounds, told The Press of Atlantic City the dog had blood in its mouth and was picking him off the ground with its hind legs.
The shelter worker needed stitches. Peggs was not hurt. The dog was euthanized.
Peggs was working off a 45-day sentence for assault in the Cape May County Sheriff Labor Assistance Program. The program allows him to complete his jail time by working nights or weekends for the county.
Information from: The Press of Atlantic City, http://www.pressofatlanticcity.com