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Fil-Am who saved dog honored by District Attorney

Paragas (extreme right) poses with fellow awardees of Courageous Citizens Award from the DA office. Behind the awardees are staff of the District Attorneys office. Photo © Abner Galino

A FILIPINO-American from Long Beach, California earned the District Attorney’s Office Courageous Citizens Award for saving a dog that was hurled by its owner to a 20-foot ravine two years ago.

Krisanto Paragas, 30, who works for the US Coast Guard, was honored and given the award in a simple ceremony last February 7 in Los Angeles together with four other individuals, who were also recognized for their respective acts of heroism.

Paragas was recommended to receive the award by the Los Angeles County Department of Animal Care and Control (DACC) following the successful prosecution of the dog’s former owner for the cruel act.

The saved dog, a female mixed breed pit bull now named “Hera,” has found a new home in another Filipino American household.

Kapitbahay din namin,” Paragas replied when asked who adopted Hera.

I would have adopted her (Hera) but we already have two dogs,” Paragas said.

According to Paragas, Hera had been frequenting their yard long before she was thrown into the ravine by her former companion.

My father-in-law who just flew in from the Philippines and whose body clock was still on Philippine time zone was the one who actually saw the incident and he woke me up.”

It was around 3 am, and it was dark and cold, recalled Paragas.

Sabi ni Tatay, dumating daw yung may-ari ng aso na pumupunta sa bahay namin. Sabi ko, mabuti naman. Pero sabi ni Tatay, hindi. Tinapon niya sa bangin ‘yung aso. (Tatay said Hera and her owner were around. I said it was good. But then, my father-in-law said, no, he threw her into the ravine.)

Paragas rushed out of their house and climbed down the ravine and found the dog near the bottom of it. The dog was shaking in fear and was probably in great pain.

I tried to call her to come to me. But she was so shaken and scared, she wouldn’t move from where she was,” Paragas recalled.

Shortly after, Paragas noticed a car’s headlight from atop the ravine. He climbed up and saw the man who threw the dog into the ravine. He was later identified as Adrian Spancky Raya.

Raya allegedly asked Paragas to turn over the dog to him.

I was so enraged I think I used some colorful words on him,” Paragas narrate

I told him that he is not going to get back the dog and that the police has been called.”

Sensing that Paragas was determined, Raya left the scene.

Paragas later reviewed his home surveillance video and gave it to authorities.

Animal Control Officer Armando Ferrufino of the Los Angeles County Department of Animal Care and Control (DACC) investigated the case and turned it over to the District Attorney’s office for prosecution.

Raya was convicted of cruelty to an animal and sentenced to two years in a state prison.

Two years after Raya’s conviction, just a couple of weeks back, Paragas received a letter from the DA office informing him that he has been chosen to be among five persons to receive Courageous Citizens Award.

I didn’t really expect it. All along I thought that what I did was just the right thing to do. And I will do it over again, if I get another chance,” Paragas concluded.

Abner Galino
The author is a poet and a writer. He was a cultural worker before he became a reporter for Tinig ng Masa and Malaya Midday Edition during the Marcos regime. He later became a reporter of People's Tonight shortly after 1986 EDSA Revolution. He went on to become its Chief of Reporters, City Editor and News Editor. He retired after 15 years in the Journal Group of Publications. He now writes for Weekend Balita and the US Asian Post (USAP), weekly Filipino-American newspapers based in Los Angeles, California.

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