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    George the Jack Russell Terrier Saves Five Children from Marauding Pit Bulls

    Tiny Terrier Rescues 5 Children From Pit Bulls
    Wednesday, May 02, 2007

    WELLINGTON, New Zealand — This is a dog story.

    It's about a plucky little Jack Russell terrier named George, who stood like a giant against two marauding pit bulls and gave his own life to save five kids from the steel-trap jaws and razor-sharp teeth of the vicious attack machines.

    Local officials say it's also a story about the people who trained the pit bulls to kill and who may have fed the animals methamphetamines to make them even more deadly.

    The tragedy unfolded Sunday afternoon on New Zealand's North Island, in the town of Manaia, where a group of children — and George — were walking back from a trip to the candy store.

    Out of nowhere, the children told police, the two pit bulls lunged at them.

    One of the kids, Richard Rosewarne, 11, told the local paper that George never backed down against the pit bulls, doggedly refusing to let the them get at his little brother, 4-year-old Darryl.

    "George tried to protect us by barking and rushing at them, but they started to bite him — one on the head and the other on the back," Rosewarne said. "We ran off crying and some people saw what was happening and rescued George."

    It was too late, however, to save the little 9-year-old terrier. Steven Hopkinson, the veterinarian who treated George, said the dog's wounds were the worst he'd seen. Putting him down, Hopkinson said, was the only option.

    For Allan Gay, George's owner, the loss is especially devastating. He lives alone and George had been his faithful companion for seven of his nine years, inheriting the pup when neighbors moved away.

    "These two pitbulls rushed up and were going for the little boy," Gay said, choking back tears. "George went for them, it's what he would do. He didn't stand a chance, but I reckon he saved that boy from being chewed up.

    "If it wasn't for George, those kids would have copped it," Gay said.

    Gay said he had been receiving phone calls non-stop from relatives and news media since word got out about George's heroics.

    "The phone has been going since about half past seven this morning. Every time I hang up it rings again. It's worn out; I might have to get a new one," he said.

    The pit bulls, meanwhile, were found Tuesday and turned over to local officials, who said they would be destroyed.

    Officials also are investigating reports that the dogs could have been given methamphetamines to make them more aggressive and very unpredictable.

    "I understand it commonly happens in Rotorua," animal control officer Kiernan Best said.

    "The pitbulls I've had dealings with are naturally aggressive because of the type of people they are with," Best said. "They keep pitbulls around because they don't like visitors, and one can only presume they have something to hide, that they are into crime and drugs.

    "They are paranoid about officials visiting and the dog emulates the owner," Best said.

    Gay, meanwhile, and the kids George saved built a makeshift memorial to their hero.

    "George was brave," Gay said, as each of the kids held a photo of the little pup they'll never forget. "He took them on and he's not even a foot high. ... He jumped in on them, he tried to keep them off."

    And, he gave his life doing so.

    And here is the rest of the story:

    Purple Heart for brave George

    George, the nine-year-old Jack Russell terrier that saved five New Zealand children from two marauding pit bulls.May 8, 2007

    A Jack Russell terrier who died from injuries sustained when he saved a group of children from being mauled by two pit bulls in New Zealand is being given two posthumous medals.

    New Zealand's main animal welfare agency, the Society for the Protection of Animals, today awarded George a bravery medal, while an American Vietnam veteran who read news articles about the attack said he would send a Purple Heart to the dog's owner.

    Feisty, 30cm tall George fought with the pit bulls to keep them from attacking the youngest of five children as they returned home from buying sweets at a neighbourhood shop in the small North Island town of Manaia on April 29.

    George, aged 9, was so badly mauled in the melee that owner Alan Gay instructed a veterinarian to put him down.

    "It was an extraordinary act of heroism," said the animal protection society's chief executive, Robyn Kippenberger. "It says a huge amount for the animal-human bond that he actually went in to save them."

    Authorities have euthanised the two pit bulls, and their owner faces prosecution for owning dangerous and uncontrolled dogs.

    Kippenberger said her group's award, normally given to humans for bravery in aiding animals, "has not been awarded to a dog since 1990." The two previous canine recipients were trained police dogs.

    "That he weighed into a couple of dogs considerably larger than himself, clearly to protect a child, is just a most amazing act and needs to be recognised," she told The Associated Press.

    The bravery medal will be presented to George's owner at the children's school.

    Meanwhile, former US Marine Jerrell Hudman told the local Taranaki Herald newspaper that he would honour the terrier's bravery by mailing to New Zealand one of the three Purple Heart medals he was awarded for service in Vietnam in 1967.

    Purple Hearts are given to US troops wounded or killed in combat

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    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    What an outstanding story yet it's so sad that George was lost. I relayed this story to a couple of Marines I know. They were very pleased that a fellow Marine was recognizing the bravery of that little guy by sending his Purple Heart. I have a broken coat J.R named Augie. I see that same kind of fearless intensity in him. I've never seen him back down yet.

    5:44 PM  
    Blogger DC said...

    This is a touching story. George had the heart, soul and spirit of a true Marine, and it is fitting that he would be honored with a Purple Heart. And those children will never forget the bravery and heroism of a little dog who protected them against terrible odds, and gave his life in the process. Had he been mine, I'm not sure I would have had him put down right away, because the spirit of Jack Russells is legendary, and given a some time and skilled veterinary care, George might have been able to pull through. But probably not, so I suppose it was for the best. I'm sure your Augie would protect you in the same way, as would our four Jack Russells. It's amazing that such small dogs would so willingly give their lives to protect their families, but that's just the way they are. Never give up, never give in, never surrender, whatever the odds.

    11:18 AM  
    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    I cried when i read that story. It's so heart warming and bautigul what he did.
    That lovely dog deserves so much more. It was so sad that he died but he died defending his owner which is absolutely wonderful.
    I wish he was still alive.

    9:40 PM  
    Blogger vampireesque66 said...

    it's very touching story n make cried.he very cute dog too n brave he die for saving other life,we should b like this dog,he got feel to love,spirit n soul,we all love u george brave dog ever,rest in peace n u make all proud have dog like u .

    12:42 AM  
    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    it really is so sad what has happened. What that dog did was life saving! Those who say dogs are stupid should rethink. What George did will be remembered, and the owners of the pitbulls (if there are owners) should be extremely ashamed and hopefully get a long long sentence in prison!
    Well done George. You won't be forgotten

    3:50 PM  

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