Two Berkeley residents received awards from the UCPD police chief at a ceremony on campus Oct. 16 for rescuing a young girl from an attack by two dogs.
UCPD Chief Mitch Celaya presented Citizen Awards to Pang Ho and Terry Kelley-Farias for their actions in August at a ceremony at the campus’s Alumni House. At the ceremony, Celaya called their quick reaction “the definition of the act of courage and the act of heroism.”
Instituted last year, the award recognizes actions by citizens that promote public safety, said UCPD spokesperson Capt. Margo Bennett. The first three recipients of the award were staff members at UC Berkeley who alerted police about an armed student on campus last November.
“It’s mostly a thank you … to tell people we appreciate you being good citizens,” Bennett said. “The police department cannot be the only entity to protect the public. There is a tremendous necessity for individuals to do something if they see something.”
On the evening of Aug. 23, Ho and Kelley-Farias were playing soccer with a group of friends in a field near the campus University Village housing complex in Albany when they noticed two unleashed pit bulls attack a 6-year-old girl. In his position as goalie, Ho was nearest to the girl’s location.
“I heard the dogs barking and the little girl screaming,” Ho said. “I looked and saw two dogs all over the little girl.”
Reacting immediately, Ho ran over with Kelley-Farias close behind him. One dog had the girl by the back of the neck, and the other was biting her about the body and legs, Ho said.
“I was yelling, ‘Stop it, stop it, stop it,’ as I ran over there,” Ho said. “By the time I was pulling one dog off, my friend (Kelley-Farias) was there pulling the other dog off.”
Kelley-Farias pried one dog’s jaws open with his hands to free the girl’s neck while Ho said he pulled the other away from her legs by its collar. Kelley-Farias lifted the victim above his head to keep her out of reach of the pit bulls while the two men moved her to safety, according to UCPD officers.
Michelle Locke, Ho’s wife, said she was surprised to hear of the attack but not by Ho’s actions.
“He does tend to look out for people,” she said. “He’s kind of a ‘deeds not words’ kind of guy, a man of action.”
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