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SPCA to award medal to canine hero

Tuesday, 8 May, 2007

The SPCA is to award a posthumous medal for bravery to George, the courageous dog who sustained massive injuries last week, when defending five children from attacking pitbulls.

George, a nine-year-old Jack Russell terrier from the Taranaki township of Manaia, was severely mauled by the pitbulls and subsequently needed to be humanely euthanised to prevent suffering.

SPCA New Zealand's Annual General Meeting in Wellington on Sunday (May 6th) voted to award George the SPCA's Medal for Bravery.

"The decision was taken unanimously by representatives of the SPCA from right across New Zealand," says National Chief Executive, Robyn Kippenberger.

"George was a very brave little dog, who almost certainly prevented severe injury, if not death, to at least one of the children. It's truly tragic that he paid with his own life for his instinctive act of courage. Our hearts go out to George's owner, Alan Gay, and to the children involved in this dreadful incident.

"The Royal New Zealand SPCA Medal for Bravery is normally awarded for outstanding acts of bravery by humans in defence of animals. But, in George's case, we are honouring an animal's outstanding act of bravery to save humans. It seems a highly appropriate thing for us to do," she adds.

Mr Gay is to receive George's medal from Ms Kippenberger, in the presence of Hawera's Mayor, Mary Bourke, at a ceremony at Manaia Primary School on 18th May at 9.00 am.