Cat be­stowed shel­ter’s Hero Dog ci­ta­tion for sav­ing kid from ca­nine


For the first time, a Los An­ge­les shel­ter’s Hero Dog award has gone to a cat.

In May 2014, Tara the cat fought off a dog that at­tacked her 6-year-old owner as he rode his bi­cy­cle in the drive­way of the fam­ily’s Bak­ers­field home.

Tara body-slammed Scrappy, a chow-mix that lived next door, when the dog got out of his yard, ran for Jeremy Tri­antafilo, grabbed his leg and started shak­ing from side-to-side. Tara chased the dog to­ward its home. It was later eu­th­a­nized.

Jeremy, who is autis­tic and had to have eight stitches, calls Scrappy a “bad dog,” said his dad, Roger Tri­antafilo. About Tara, Jeremy said, “She is my hero.”

“We were so im­pressed by Tara’s brav­ery and fast ac­tion that the se­lec­tion com­mit­tee de­cided that a cat this spec­tac­u­lar should be the Na­tional Hero Dog,” said Made­line Bern­stein, pres­i­dent of the So­ci­ety for the Preven­tion of Cru­elty to An­i­mals Los An­ge­les. The shel­ter’s 33rd an­nual award was pre­sented to the fam­ily in down­town Los An­ge­les on Fri­day.

You will usu­ally find Tara close to Jeremy, his fa­ther said.

“The neigh­bor kids come over and play with her. Dogs walk by all the time. She gets along fine with our dog, Maya. But if Jeremy falls off his bike, she comes run­ning. If he starts cry­ing, she comes run­ning,” Tri­antafilo said.

He be­lieves Tara would help Jeremy’s twin broth­ers, Car­son and Con­ner, if they needed it. She’s grown up with all of them. But there is no ques­tion she is par­tial to Jeremy, he said. Jeremy and Tara spend a lot of time walk­ing around and talk­ing with one another.

Footage of Tara’s hero­ics, from home se­cu­rity videos, made her an in­ter­na­tional celebrity when Tri­antafilo put it on YouTube. It’s got­ten over 650,000 hits so far.

There was one al­ter­ation in the tro­phy: the word “Dog” was scratched out and the word “Cat” etched in.


Tara, a 7-year-old adopted cat poses for a photo with her award prior to be­ing pre­sented with the 33rd An­nual Na­tional Hero Dog Award in Los An­ge­les, Fri­day, June 19.

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