Heroic Dog Award: PETA awards "Levi," 15-year-old pit bull who took bullet during home invasion

JANESVILLE -- PETA is awarding "Levi," a 15-year-old pit bull from Janesville who took a bullet and saved his parents' lives during a home invasion. 

Levi will receive the Heroic Dog Award from PETA.

"Like many dogs before him, this brave pup risked life and limb to protect his pack," says PETA Senior Director Colleen O'Brien. "PETA hopes his story will encourage all dog guardians to treat their canine companions as members of the family by taking them on walks, playing with them, and showering them with affection."

Bob Stenzel and his girlfriend, Darcy Cherry still haven't recovered from the shock after this home invasion.

"I was just praying and praying and praying for us all to be safe," Cherry said.

A would-be robber broke into their home after they forgot to lock their door.

"He had his gun drawn on us and demanded us to the ground and repeatedly asked us 'where's the safe' and 'where is the money?'" Cherry said.

Cherry and Stenzel were sitting at their table when the man broke in. With no safe and no money to give the man, three-legged Levi, the couple's 15-year-old pit bull began to bark at the man.

"Not more than a minute after that the person fired on Levi -- right in the head," Stenzel said.

The bullet grazed Levi's head and lodged into his shoulder.

The intruder ran off without physically stealing anything from the home -- but they still took something valuable from this couple.

"I'm afraid to sit here and the ice maker makes noise. It's every little thing," Cherry said.

This wasn't the first time Levi has become the family hero.

In 2014, he took a fall off the edge of a trail, shattering his leg while trying to protect Cherry's son. As a result, Levi's leg had to be amputated.

The dog also survived a "dog-napping" years ago.

"It's a feeling you can't really express in words. I mean, thank God he was here," Stenzel said.

Levi is currently on medication but he's expected to fully recover from the shooting.

Police are looking for the suspect responsible for this home invasion. He's described as a blue-eyed white man in his 20s or 30s.



To recognize Levi's brave actions, PETA is sending him a get-well "doggie bag" containing a blanket, eco-friendly squeaky toy, Nylabone, and box of vegan dog treats.

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that "animals are not ours to abuse in any way"—offers tips for helping animal companions on its website.