A plucky foot-high Jack Russell terrier named George saved five New Zealand children from two marauding pitbulls, but was so severely mauled in the fight he had to be destroyed, according to his devastated owner.
George was playing with the group of children as they returned home from buying sweets at a neighborhood shop in the small North Island town of Manaia last Sunday when the two pitbulls appeared and lunged toward them, his owner Allan Gay said.
"George was brave - he took them on and he's not even a foot high," Gay told The Associated Press. "He jumped in on them, he tried to keep them off.
"If it wasn't for George, those kids would have copped it."
One of the children, Richard Rosewarne, 11, was quoted in the Taranaki Daily News on Wednesday as saying George fought with the pitbulls to keep them off his four-year-old brother, Darryl.
"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," Rosewarne said. "We ran off crying and some people saw what was happening and rescued George."
But George, aged nine, was so badly mauled that a veterinarian had to put him down, Gay said. His heroic intervention saved the children, though he later died from his injuries. George was posthumously awarded a medal for bravery.
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