The Real Victim of Tara the Hero Cat’s Story Is the Dog

When a neighbor's dog attacked a four-year-old boy, Tara the cat came to his rescue. Both are fine, but the dog faces euthanasia.


By now we’re all familiar with that viral video of a cat saving a little boy from what seems to be an entirely unprovoked and rather vicious dog attack. The video has caused the Internet to erupt in a cheer of favor for “Tara the Hero Cat” — and the feline now has a Facebook page with sizable following and was even invited to throw out the first pitch at a local baseball game.

Jeremy, the four-year-old boy with mild autism who was spared from more severe wounds, is expected to make a full recovery. In interviews with the boy, the bond between Jeremy and Tara is clear and touching.

The dog, however — incorrectly labeled as a Pit Bull in some reports when it was really a LabradorChow mix — remains nameless.

And sentenced to death row.

More details about the dog’s situation have been revealed as the video has gained popularity. According to reports, the dog is an eight-month-old puppy who escaped from the neighbor’s yard. The neighbors were present when the incident happened, managed to restrain the dog, and were even the ones to call 911. They voluntarily relinquished the dog to authorities, who are observing the dog before having it euthanized. Jeremy’s family, the Triantafilos, will not be filing a lawsuit, and they even remain friends with their neighbors.

It’s a sign of forgiveness and good will, and no one has spoken ill of the dog (except for Jeremy, who is, understandably, a little shaken by the “bad dog”). Everyone seems to have come out of the incident fairly unscathed — the only real victim is the dog.

How did this happen and what, if anything, could anyone have done to prevent it?

Some Dogster readers have speculated that the dog was reacting to the wheels on Jeremy’s toy bike; that, upon hearing them, the dog was driven into a frenzy. It could have been the result of past abuse by previous owners or poor socialization by the current owners. Eight months is still pretty young for a dog, but old enough to establish negative behavior — especially if the dog was adopted from a shelter or a rescue with no clue about his history.

Yet other readers have confessed that sometimes dogs are just born “defective” — with something off in their brain chemistry, possibly preventing them from ever being corrected.

This week is also Dog Bite Prevention Week, so we’ve created this infographic outlining dog body language. Understanding dog body language is key to preventing bites. Check out this article for more information on dog bites and how to prevent them.

What do you think about all this? How do you feel about the dog being put down? Let’s talk in the comments.

Read about dogs in the news on Dogster:

About Liz Acosta: Dogster’s former Cuteness Correspondent, Liz still manages the site’s daily “Awws,” only now she also wrangles Dogster’s social media. That’s why she wants you to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and — her personal favorite — Instagram. See ya there!

21 thoughts on “The Real Victim of Tara the Hero Cat’s Story Is the Dog”

  1. Disgusting ‘article’ the author of this rubbish should hang their head in shame. I’ve unsubscribed room future emails and will not be visiting this site again.

  2. What a garbage dog, sneaking up and attacking a toddler. Thankfully it was euthanized. Can you imagine what it could’ve done had it been 2 or 3 years old?

  3. I was attacked by a dog when I was 5 years old.I had really blonde hair almost white and I walked into my neighbors yard during a cookout.The dog(a medium sized mix)just took off and jumped me and even with a crowd full yard to get it off I had to get 40 stitches.The dog was a rescue who's previous owners white haired son beat it(so we found out)I'm 50 and still am cautious around dogs so don't say this kid is "fine".Time will tell.

  4. That’s like saying a rapist is the real victim since he’s being sentenced to death. What an extremely asinine thought.

    1. It's a sad thing that a dog has to be put down but what choices are there? Imagine if the dog was adopted out and it then killed a toddler? Imagine the outrage by the world asking why wasnt the dog put down. I love my dog and the real criminal here is the human that had not done due diligence to ensure that the dog was well socialized. Now I'm not saying it was the current owners but people need to know they are taking on a responsibility to treat the dog with love and kindness and attention and if there is a dog that leans towards violence then it's the person's responsibility to address this. So many times people get dogs to fulfill a need they have never thinking this is a life andas a child you can't just throw food and water at it.

  5. I never had anyone i know been in a dog attack but this one time me and my brother and mom were taking a walk through our neighborhood and to frenchies run out barking and absolutly freaked out my brother, long story short, he has a minor fear of dogs, which suck for him because we have a dog that barks ALOT.

  6. Shortly after the attack I saw two of the workers from the shelter where that dog was confined during its quarantine interviewed after the attack. They were outraged that they had received hundreds of calls and emails concerned about the future of that dog, which had a prior history of attacking humans and continued to be aggressive with shelter personnel. There was obviously no way they could risk adopting him out. They were particularly upset at this outpouring of concern for this vicious dog, while at the same time the shelter was full of well socialized dogs that would make great pets, needing only a loving home to complete their lives.

    1. I know I’m late to this thread; truth be told, I was upset at first after hearing the dog had been euthanized but now that I’ve learned that it had a history of attacking people, I’m glad it won’t hurt anyone else.

  7. Firstly, I am glad the boy was not seriously injured. Euthanizing the dog was the right thing to do – it’s not as if the boy was on the property of the dog’s owner, this dog got out and went onto the property where this little boy lived and went right after him – was the dog let down by not being trained properly? Absolutely. However the boy wasn’t anywhere near the dog and was minding his own business when he got attacked. He was also (As other people have stated) evaluated for the 10 days he was in quarantine and found to not only be vicious, but potentially dangerous and that’s why the decision was made to euthaniz e him.

  8. What’s that now? The dog is the victim? The victim is the child who was attacked, needed stitches, and may be frightened of dogs for the rest of his life. Justifiably. The dog was driven crazy by the sound of the kid’s bike? Yes, that could have possibly happened. It is also, however, about the weakest excuse I have ever heard for anything. The boy did not approach the dog. The boy did not scare the dog. The boy did not taunt the dog. The boy did not hit the dog. In fact, the boy DID NOT EVEN SEE the dog until it came out of nowhere and attacked him. It is unfortunate that the dog was put down. It is sad too. But it’s not like it was done the next day. The dog was evaluated for TEN DAYS by experts, and was found to be a viscous and potentially dangerous. I would agree that the dog is A VICTIM, somebody may have let him down in some way, but let’s not make him THE VICTIM. That’s the boy.

  9. The real victim was the dog?! The boy needed ten stitches. He was facing away from the dog when it attacked him. If Tara the cat hadn’t intervened that kid could well have died. I get that people love dogs but they are not more important than humans.

  10. I adopted a Beagle from the Humane Society who clearly suffered from some past trauma when he was bitten as a puppy. You could still see the bite scars on his muzzle. He had basically been chained outside all his life and had never been indoors before, but we made him a house dog. The first few months we had him, he would lunge at the cats if they walked behind him. Another time, one of my daughter’s twelve-year-old friends knelt to pet him, and he bit her on the jaw in fear. I initially thought we’d get rid of him because I felt he could have killed her, but I took him to training instead. In the three years since, he hasn’t had an incident and loves people now. It just took him a while to feel safe. Now he’s a smuggler. I’d leave such decisions to the professionals as in all things. The dog in the incident above seemed to be attacking the boy rather than acting in fear, so I don’t know what the right thing to do is.

  11. Since when did the agressor become the victim?? Give the dog a second chance?? To do what, try to kill that kid again? Or attack another kid? The video speaks for itself, that dog is the last living thing that you would want living among humans.

  12. The Real Victim is the dog? Are you kidding me.. how about the physical and mental scars of the child. That dog could have potentially killed a human. Get a grip

  13. I was a dog attack victim and no, you are NOT fine afterward. What a terrible thing to say. If dog bites made people better there would be dog bite spas on every corner.

    1. The dog was held for observation for 10 days, continued to show aggressive behavior, bit two stagg members and attacked others. He needed to be put down.

    2. Yes the dog needs to be put down! Yes he’s a puppy so is my Great Dane! The dog is set in their ways at the age then can be changed IF the owners put the time in! That being said some animals are so badly taken care of that they don’t ever recover. That boy and family doesn’t deserve to live in fear because ITS A PUPPY!

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