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George (1997/1998 – 29 April 2007) was a Jack Russell Terrier from New Zealand who was posthumously awarded a Gold Medal by the People's Dispensary for Sick Animals in February 2009. He defended children from an attack by two pit bulls but subsequently was euthanized due to his injuries.

George dog.jpg
BreedJack Russell Terrier
Died (aged 9)
Manaia, Taranaki
Nation fromNew Zealand
OwnerAllan Gay
AwardsPDSA Gold Medal


On Sunday, 29 April 2007, George was playing with a group of five children, aged between three and twelve years of age, in the small Taranaki town of Manaia. As they returned home from a local shop, they were set upon by a pair of pit bulls. George intervened between the two other dogs and the children. Richard Rosewarne, who was one of the five children, said of the attack, "George tried to protect us by barking and rushing at them, but they started to bite him - one on the head and the other on the back".[1]

The injuries inflicted on George were so severe that his owner, Allan Gay, had to euthanise him. The two pit bulls were surrendered by their owner to dog control officers,[1] and they were subsequently put down.[2]

The New Zealand Society for the Protection of Animals awarded George a bravery medal, presenting it to his owner at the school that the children attend. Vietnam War veteran Jerrell Hudman proposed that he would send one of the three Purple Hearts he was awarded during his military service to honour George's memory, describing the dog as "a little warrior".[2] His memory was commemorated with a bronze statue in Manaia, Taranaki, New Zealand.[3]

In 2009, George was posthumously awarded a PDSA Gold Medal (which has been called the animal equivalent of the George Cross) by the People's Dispensary for Sick Animals. His owner was presented with the medal by Governor-General Anand Satyanand in a ceremony at Manaia.[4]


  1. ^ a b "Tiny terrier sacrifices its life to save five children from pitbulls". Daily Mail. 2 May 2007.
  2. ^ a b "Purple Heart for brave George". The Sydney Morning Herald. 8 May 2007.
  3. ^ "A Jack Russell terrier named George". Stratford Press. 7 November 2007.
  4. ^ "Hero Dog Dies Fighting Pit Bulls". 11 February 2009. Archived from the original on 14 February 2009.

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