On Wednesday, the Facebook group Jackson TN Euthanasia posted a photo of a dog facing euthanasia at a high-kill rabies control shelter in Jackson, Tennessee. He had been abandoned because his owner believed the dog was gay.
"This guy was signed over to RC, not [because] he's mean or [because] he tears things up, but because...His owner says he's gay! He hunched another male dog so his owner threw him away bc he refuses to have a "gay" dog! Even if that weren't the most asinine thing I've ever heard, it's still discrimination! Don't let this gorgeous dog die [because] his owner is ignorant of normal dog behaviour! He's in kennel 10L and he WILL be put down tomorrow [because] there is no room at the inn!" the group wrote in the post that quickly went viral.
The post inspired thousands of comments and hundreds of calls to the shelter. The bulldog-mix was quickly adopted by Stephanie Fryns, a local veterinary tech, ABC News reports. Fryns had seen the dog's photo on another adoption site and wanted to adopt him prior to his story going viral.
Fryns named the canine Elton and says the 50-pound dog "was pretty friendly so far. He’s pretty scared of everything, which is understandable. But he loved the car ride."
Experts believe Elton's original owner likely misread the dog's behaviour.
"Homosexual behaviour has been recorded in more than 1,000 different animal species, but it is likely that Elton was simply displaying typical dominance behaviour when mounting another male dog, rather than being gay," ABC News reports.