PETA offers $5,000 reward for burglars who shot Rex, the hero dog

DES MOINES, Wash. — PETA is offering a $5,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of armed intruders who shot Rex, a German shepherd hailed a hero for defending his teen owner.

Rex was shot three times, including once in the neck. He needed surgery over the weekend and is now recovering at home.

Much of the news about the incident has centered around Rex, but the suspects in the case are not in custody.

Burglary escalates to gunfire

On Feb. 21, burglars broke into a home in the 1400 block of South 234th Street around lunchtime, according to Des Moines police.

Javier Mercado, 16, was home alone. As he called 911 from upstairs, Rex ran to confront the burglars -- biting one of them.

“I started hearing barking, a lot of barking, and then one of the guys screamed, 'The dog bit me, the dog bit me!'" said Javier.

Moments later, Javier said, he heard gunfire.

The burglars beat Rex before following him upstairs and shooting him three times in his neck and both of his hind legs. The intruders fled when they heard police sirens.

Javier says he is convinced his dog saved his life. “If it wasn’t for him, I feel like I wouldn’t be standing here right now.”

'Heroic Dog Award'

PETA, whose motto reads "animals are not ours to abuse in any way," is offering a reward of up to $5,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction on cruelty-to-animals charges of the people responsible for beating and shooting Rex.

"These robbers didn't hesitate to beat and shoot a dog who was only trying to protect a beloved family member," says PETA Vice President Colleen O'Brien. "PETA urges anyone who saw anything suspicious in the area that afternoon or who has information about this case to come forward immediately before these dangerous criminals strike again."

PETA is preparing to present Rex with a Heroic Dog Award, which honors dogs for their heroic actions and reminds people how intelligent and sensitive animals are.

Anyone with information about this case should call the Des Moines Police Department at 206-878-3301.