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Facebook post saves pit bull's life in Tampa

Posted: 2:29 AM, Sep 16, 2015
Updated: 2015-09-16 02:29:31-04

A pit bull’s story is going viral after a Hillsborough County Sheriff’s deputy found the stray in east Tampa.

Sadly, statistics show large dogs have a higher euthanization rate at shelters across the country.

Every year, thousands in Hillsborough County are put to sleep because they don’t get adopted.

Deputy Noah Johnson didn’t want that to happen, so he went above and beyond the call of duty.

He picked up the dog wandering in an apartment complex Saturday.

“It's usually every shift, a deputy will find at least one dog or a cat,” said Johnson, “When I showed up the dog was really emaciated. You could see his rib cage and hip bones. Pretty young dog, but he looked like a stray because he wasn't neutered yet.”

Taking it to the closest vet, he learned the dog had no microchip.

“The dog was wagging its tail. Smiling and not barking at all,” said Johnson.

Worried the happy guy might be euthanized, Johnson just by chance ran into the Editor in Chief of The New Barker, a local dog magazine. Anna Cook had a great idea to help the stray find a home.

“There was just something about him. So I said to Deputy Johnson that I would put his picture on The New Barker Facebook page,” said Cook, “We put an offer out saying any rescue group that is able to help the dog, we will donate advertising for a year in The New Barker. So that got some interest.”

Within 24 hours, The Humane Society of Tampa Bay answered the call.

“We happen to have space. Space in an issue with large pit bulls. We only have 25 large kennels, but we happen to have an opening, so we were able to say that we would come pick him up,” said spokesperson Nash McCutchen.

Now this dog, once just a number, is named Gunner and will be available for adoption in a few weeks.

Shelters say Gunner’s story is why neutering and spaying your dog or cat is so important.

The Hillsborough County Pet Resource Center offers vouchers to get your pet fixed for $10. You have to qualify however by showing proof of limited income.