A quick-thinking Florida police officer might have just saved a dog’s life earlier this month when, she says, she noticed its owner was running the animal to the point of exhaustion.
WFLA News reports Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Deputy Linda Ruggiero had just finished with a routine traffic stop in the Tampa area on April 8 when she noticed a white pit bull-like mixed breed dog that appeared to be in distress. Ruggiero said the dog was lying on the ground while the owner was tugging at its leash, coaxing it to get up.
In an interview Ruggiero gave to “Inside HCSO” — the sheriff’s office own informational program, regularly posted to YouTube — the deputy said the animal’s owner claimed he had been exercising the dog by running him alongside his bike.
“The dog had no control over his back legs,” Ruggiero said in the interview. “It was 86 degrees that day … he was bragging that he ran the dog seven miles a day.”
The deputy called other officers to the scene and they transported the animal to the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office Animal Services facility.
Staffers there reportedly nicknamed the dog “Chance” and he is said to be recovering.
The dog’s owner has been identified as 41-year-old Mark Spriggs. Ruggiero arrested him on charges of felony aggravated cruelty to animals and violation of probation.
It’s the fourth time in the last two months Tampa area officers have come to the aid of a distressed dog, according to WFLA.
One such rescue, on March 4, made headlines across the country and the story of the dog’s recovery went viral.
On March 4, Tampa police officers, responding to a call of shots fired, found a badly injured dog, who was later named Cabela, tied to railroad tracks and left for dead.
The dog had a badly injured leg, but the officers were able to free her and transport her to a nearby animal hospital. She underwent surgery at Tampa Bay Veterinarian Emergency Services and is expected to make a full recovery, according to Bay News 9.
The subsequent investigation led to four arrests and is reported to have broken up an alleged dog fighting ring.
WFLA also reported that, on two separate occasions in March, officers with the Pinellas Park Police Department had rescued small dogs from drowning.
Once, on March 6, an officer jumped into a small lake to rescue a dog named Daisy, who had slipped from her leash and fallen into the water.
On March 20, another Pinellas Park officer rescued a Chihuahua from a canal.
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Photo Credit: Screen shot from YouTube: Inside HCSO, WFLA