POLK COUNTY, Fla. - UPDATE: Sadly, Amanda McElvoy with Polk Pits Rescue reports that Lieutenant Dan passed away on Tuesday. She said his body temperature began to fall again and he eventually stopped breathing. Mike Provencher was holding Lieutenant Dan as he passed away. The investigation into who left Lieutenant Dan in the dumpster continues.
LAKELAND, Fla. - Mike Provencher was standing next to a dumpster in Bartow last Monday when he heard a whimper.
He opened the side door of the dumpster and peered inside, as the whimpering continued.
Then he found a white plastic Wal-Mart bag, tied like a ribbon at the top. Inside, he found a tiny little dog -- so small it fit in his hand. It was just a couple weeks ago.
It didn’t take Mike long to figure out what had happened: Someone had thrown the dog away like it was garbage.
“I was horrified. It tore my heart out,” Provencher said.
Provencher named the dog ‘Lieutenant Dan,’ after the character in Forrest Gump who endured through significant setbacks.
Amanda McElvoy, the founder of Polk Pits Rescue in Lakeland, took Lt. Dan to the veterinarian on Monday. The vet said Lt. Dan was emaciated, dehydrated and severely underweight. He was so small they couldn't figure out what kind of dog he was.
The vet told McElvoy that Lt. Dan had an “enormous uphill battle” to climb this week. But if he could survive the week, the vet believed Lt. Dan would be able to make it, despite someone not wanting him to.
“You just didn’t care. You threw him away like he was trash,” McElvoy said about the person who left Lt. Dan in the dumpster. “I don’t know how you throw away a living thing like it’s trash.”
The Polk County Sheriff’s Office is investigating.
If you would like to donate to Lt. Dan’s vet care, you can call Privileged Critters Animal Hospital at (863) 521-1360.
If you would like to adopt Lt. Dan, you can email Amanda at PolkPits@gmail.com.
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The rest of the week looks like our normal summer pattern with heat, humidity and high chances for afternoon downpours.