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Medals for brave jack russell terrier

Published: 3:03PM Tuesday May 08, 2007 Source: One News/Newstalk ZB

George, the jack russell terrier from Taranaki who gave his life attempting to defend five children from two attacking pitbulls is to be commended for his bravery.

Last week, George was walking down the road in Manaia with five local children when they came upon two pitbulls, who threatened the children. George had to be put down after being savagely attacked while protecting them.

The SPCA is awarding George a posthumous medal, one normally awarded to humans for outstanding acts of bravery in defence of animals.

Chief executive Robyn Kippenberger says it's entirely appropriate to award it to George.

She says he was a very brave little dog who almost certainly prevented severe injury to at least one of the children.

Kippenberger says it's truly tragic his instinctive act of courage cost his life and her heart goes out to his owner Alan Gay.

George is also being honoured in death with a purple heart - an American military honour.

"What chance would a little boy have against two pit bull terriers? And even George was too small...he didn't stand a chance," Gay said.

Since the incident Gay has been inundated with calls and letters from strangers, all offering sympathy and support.

The tale has even gone global, hitting the papers in China, Canada, South Africa, Singapore and the United States.

Fellow dog lover and former US marine Jerrell Hudman from Austin, Texas read the story and is going to send his purple heart to mend Gay's broken one.

Hudman was awarded the purple heart when injured in the Vietnam War but thinks George deserves a medal of his own.