Local News

Tuesday, May 27 2014 03:58 PM

Dog chased away by hero cat Tara is euthanized

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    The Triantafilo family cat, Tara, appears to slam into the dog, reportedly an 8-month-old male Labrador-Chow mix, and push it away from 4-year-old Jeremy Triantafilo. This image was taken from surveillance video provided by the boy's dad, Roger Triantafilo.

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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 THEO DOUGLAS Californian staff writer tdouglas@bakersfield.com

The dog that bit 4-year-old southwest Bakersfield resident Jeremy Triantafilo and dragged him down his driveway May 13 -- only to be chased off by the family's cat, Tara, to worldwide media acclaim -- has been euthanized.

Its owners surrendered the approximately 8-month-old Labrador-Chow mix to the City of Bakersfield Animal Care Center later on May 13, when it began a mandatory 10-day quarantine period to determine whether the animal had rabies.

At the end of that period, the dog "was humanely euthanized over the weekend," according to Animal Care Center Director Julie Johnson -- who noted the incident has ended far from quietly.

At least three online petitions emerged to save the dog and attracted thousands of signatures last week.

The city animal shelter also logged calls and emails -- some irate -- from people interested in saving the dog or seeing it saved.

"'You people are a disgrace. You're cowards,'" Johnson said quoting remarks made to the shelter. "We're getting called names. I don't get it. We did what the family requested we do. The owner signed over this dog specifically for euthanization after the quarantine period."

A civil action asking a Kern County Superior Court judge to block the dog's euthanization had been rumored, but did not materialize, Bakersfield City Attorney Ginny Gennaro said Tuesday.

Jeremy, who needed 10 stitches to his left calf following the attack, mounted a swift recovery -- dropping the puck at Friday's Condors game and, with Tara, throwing out a ceremonial first pitch for the Bakersfield Blaze.

His now-legendary mixed breed cat, Tara, -- a former stray adopted by Jeremy's parents Erica and Roger Triantafilo -- has her own website, Facebook account and Twitter feed.

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