Off-Duty Firefighter Nets PETA Award for Saving Dog From Burning Home

Tennessee Local Carries Dog Outside Moments Before Roof Collapse

For Immediate Release:
October 15, 2015

Lakisha Ridley 202-483-7382

White House, Tenn. – Courtesy of PETA, a Compassionate Action Award is on its way to Tennessee resident Tim Tawater, an off-duty firefighter who rushed to the aid of a dog named Sampson who was trapped inside his family’s home during a fire. As neighbors watched, Tawater stopped his car outside the house and ran inside. He bundled the terrified 80-pound Sampson in a blanket and carried him to safety just moments before the roof collapsed. “If someone is in the house, I have to get them out,” he said.

“Thanks to Mr. Tawater’s unhesitating bravery, this lucky dog is safe today with his family,” says PETA Senior Director Colleen O’Brien. “PETA hopes his courage and determination will inspire others to come to the aid of those in need.”

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to abuse in any way”—encourages all animal guardians to put a sign on doors or windows to alert rescue workers to the presence of dogs, cats, and other animal companions. Families can order stickers from the PETA Catalog or make their own.

PETA is sending Tawater a framed certificate and a box of delicious vegan cookies.

For more information, please visit

For Media: Contact PETA's
Media Response Team.


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 Ingrid E. Newkirk

“Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights?” READ MORE

— Ingrid E. Newkirk, PETA President and co-author of Animalkind