San Francisco Teen Receives peta2 Hero to Animals Award

Boy Ensures Safety of Dog Before Escaping Apartment Fire Himself

For Immediate Release:
February 4, 2015

Sophia Charchuk 202-483-7382

San Fancisco – Courtesy of peta2—PETA’s youth division—a framed Hero to Animals Award is on its way to 13-year-old Alessandro Gonzales, who, according to news reports, became trapped in his apartment building as it was engulfed in flames. Determined to save his beloved dog, Alessandro leapt into action: He climbed onto the second-floor fire escape and gently tossed his dog down to people gathered below before jumping to safety to escape the blaze. Both Alessandro and his lucky companion are now recovering.

“Thanks to this young man’s quick thinking and bravery, a dog who nearly experienced a painful and frightening death is alive and well,” says PETA Director of Youth Outreach and Campaigns Marta Holmberg. “PETA hopes to see his selfless courage inspire others to come to the aid of animals in need.”

Anyone can be a hero to animals by always adopting and never contributing to the homeless-animal crisis, by ensuring that companion animals are always spayed or neutered, and by reporting animal abuse to law enforcement. peta2, whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to abuse in any way,” will feature Alessandro on its Heroes page.

PETA reminds people to have a plan for how they’ll take care of their animals during an emergency. For more information on ways that young people can help animals, 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