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, and Scrappy was later euthanized.
Jeremy, who is autistic and had to have eight stitches, calls Scrappy a "bad dog," says his dad, Roger Triantafilo. "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," says Madeline Bernstein, president of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Los Angeles.