These days no one is safe from online hijacking, even a seemingly harmless and positive online contest to recognize some of the best veterinarians across the country.
One nominee for America's Favorite Veterinarian contest is from Plant City.
On her day off this week, Dr. Christy Layton checked on Dakota, a pit bull rescued Saturday from the side of the road.
"She was absolutely in emaciated condition. She was covered in feces, in urine. She had an ear infection. She has really bad teeth," Layton said.
Rehabilitating animals in need is Layton's calling and part of what pushed her to the top of America's Favorite Veterinarian contest until it was called off last week, just six days before the winner was set to be announced. The American Veterinary Medical Foundation that holds the contest said it was hijacked by activists opposed to de-clawing cats.
"Basically they posted on there that we were barbaric and we should be in jail and lose our licenses rather than be America's favorite veterinarian," Layton said.
Layton said she only de-claws cats at her Plant City pet hospital after a consultation that proves it's medically needed. She was in first place in the competition and now shares the title with 19 other veterinarians, but said that won't take away from her cause.
"As America's favorite veterinarian, it's responsible pet ownership that we have to do on a daily basis," she said.
She also wants to bring awareness to helping dogs like Dakota.
"To be able to see a dog like Dakota go from the state that she's in now to where she's going to be in two or three months, and then finally get her adopted and into a loving home. To me that's just the epitome of what I do every day," Layton said.
If you want to help Dakota, visit www.saveaboxer.org/info/donate.