Local News

Friday, May 16 2014 12:55 PM

Calls come in to adopt dog that attacked boy; shelter says no

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    Julie Johnson from the city's animal shelter, left, and Californian columnist Lois Henry talk about the dog that attacked Jeremy Triantafilo, and his cat, Tara, who came to the rescue and ran the dog off, on this segment of "First Look with Scott Cox."

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    By Henry A. Barrios / The Californian

    An Animal Impound and Quarantined sign similar to this one has been posted on the kennel at the City of Bakersfield Animal Care Center of the dog that attacked 4-year-old Jeremy Triantafilo in southwest Bakersfield Tuesday. Jeremy needed stiches for severe bites to his leg and his mother, Erica, also needed medical aid from bites she sustained while protecting her son. The family cat, Tara, is credited for chasing the dog away during the attack.

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    By Henry A. Barrios / The Californian

    A cat that was stray in 2008 ended up being an instant hero for the Triantafilo family when it chased away a dog during an attack of 4-year-old Jeremy Triantafilo on May 13.

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    By Henry A. Barrios / The Californian

    Four-year-old Jeremy sits with his parents Roger and Erica Triantafilo and his cat Tara on May 14. The cat became a hero when a dog attacked Jeremy in his front yard on Eagle Vista Drive in Bakersfield and Tara came out and chased the dog away. Jeremy needed stitches for severe bites to his leg and his mother also needed medical aid from bites she sustained while protecting her son. A video of the incident has gone viral, creating national media attention.

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BY LAURA LIERA Californian staff writer lliera@bakersfield.com

After video of heroic Tara the cat went viral -- showing her ninja-body-slamming a dog that's biting 4-year-old Jeremy Triantafilo -- most people agreed the dog should be put down.

But not everyone. Websites and at least one online petition have popped up urging the dog be saved. The 8-month-old male Labrador-Chow mix that bit the boy Tuesday is under quarantine for 10 days and then will be put down.

Calls have flooded the phones at the Bakersfield Animal Care Center, director Julie Johnson said Friday on "First Look with Scott Cox."

Johnson has been taking calls from rescue operation centers that claim they can change the behavior of the dog. But the dog is not being turned over to anyone.

"I get concerned that we are fielding so many calls for this one dog," Johnson said. "I have 200 other dogs that need a home, who haven't bit anyone and make great family pets."

Californian columnist Lois Henry echoed Johnson's sentiments and said putting the dog down is the appropriate thing to do.

"I admire their animal compassion, but this dog attacked a child," Henry said. "It's a vicious animal."

And the dog's attitude has not changed since he's been under quarantine.

According to Johnson, the dog is actively trying to fight and bite workers who are adding food and water in his kennel.

"We need to put our energy into saving other animals who are euthanized because there's not enough room in the shelter, not on a dog who has attacked a child," Johnson said.

And speaking of adoption, you can adopt Jack the cat, who visited "First Look" as Friday's Pet of the Week and bares a significant similarity to Tara.

You can visit Jack and other pets at the City of Bakersfield Animal Care Center at 201 S. Mt. Vernon Ave. or call 832-7387.

Meanwhile, accolades continue rolling in for Tara the cat.

A representative for state Sen. Andy Vidak, R-Hanford, has indicated the senator would like to recognize the fast and furry-ious feline with a certificate. No word yet from Tara's people.

 

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