Family dog shot 3 times while protecting teen owner from intruders

By Gabe Cohen, Mariah Medina - Digital Journalist

DES MOINES, Washington (KOMO) - A German Shepherd named Rex is being hailed as a hero after he saved his 16-year-old owner's life during a home invasion last week, his owner said.

Javier Mercado was home alone when he said armed burglars smashed through the glass door of his home in Des Moines.

"And that's when I immediately dialed 911," Mercado told KOMO-TV. "And my dog, as soon as he heard the window shatter, he ran downstairs full charge, and then I heard a bunch of barking and struggling and one of the guy's screaming, 'The dog, the dog, the dog bit me, get the dog.'"

Mercado said he doesn't think he would have survived the home invasion if it wasn't for Rex, who was shot three times while attacking the burglars.

Mercado hid in a bathroom closet while his dog went after the intruders, but during the struggle, Mercado heard four shots and Rex cry out. Mercado said the intruders left after shooting Rex.

Des Moines police are still investigating, but Mercado and his family don't know if anything was stolen or who would do this.

Mercado's mother, Julia Cadena, said she is grateful her son was uninjured, but now her family is hurting Rex. 

"He was trying to protect Javier. That was his mission there," Cadena said. "My hero, my four-legged angel and hero."

Rex will need surgery, and his owners said he isn't out of the woods yet.