Many of us refer to our pets as our best friends, but a 4-year-old boy can claim his cat is not only his best friend but his hero. She proved that the human-animal bond is strong, and that cats can be just as loyal and protective as their canine counterparts!
In the news this week is a fearless cat named Tara from Bakersfield California. She is being hailed as a hero after rescuing her family’s four-year-old son from a dog attack.
The boy was riding his bike when a neighbor’s dog came up behind him, bit his leg and attempted to drag him. The family cat raced over and attacked the dog, chasing it away. A surveillance camera captured the entire incident and the video has been replayed on TV and internet websites.
Tara the cat is being hailed as a hero, and with good reason. It happened so quickly that the boy’s mother didn’t even realize at first what had occurred. If not for his cat, the boy might have been seriously injured. He required a few stitches in his leg but otherwise is doing okay.
The dog is a mixed Lab and Chow, only eight months old – still a puppy, really. He is usually kept in a fenced yard, but escaped when the driveway gate was opened to let the neighbor pull the car out. He is being quarantined at a local animal facility for ten days, after which he will be euthanized.
It is estimated that over four million dog bites occur in the U.S. every year. More than a five hundred thousand require medical treatment, half of those are treated in emergency rooms. About 50% of dog bite victims are children. The elderly, and postal delivery workers are also frequent victims of dog bites.
May is Dog Bite Prevention Month, and the incident in Bakersfield is a timely reminder that any dog can bite. The best way to prevent dog bites is education. Children especially should understand how to act around any dog, and especially around a dog they do not know. Dog owners should understand that they have responsibility to train their animals, to socialize them, and to restrain them - and especially with male dogs, to neuter them to reduce aggressive tendencies.
The dog involved in the Bakersfield attack will lose his life because his owner failed to live up to those responsibilities. After all, not everyone has a hero cat like Tara to protect them, when we’re speaking of pets.