Hillsborough deputy saves dog in distress


An alert Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office deputy is being credited with saving the life of a dog whose owner had been exercising him in 80 degree temperatures.

It was the fourth time in recent months that a Tampa Bay area law enforcement officer has saved a dog’s life.

Deputy Linda Ruggiero had just finished a traffic stop on 142nd Avenue just after noon on April 8 when she saw a white pit bull mixed breed who appeared to be in distress.

Ruggiero said the dog was unable to stand. A man was tugging on the dog’s leash to get him to stand, but the dog kept collapsing. The dog collapsed several times and had no control over his back legs. Ruggiero said the temperature that day was 86 degrees.

“The man told me he was exercising his dog, running him off his bicycle and he was bragging that he ran the dog seven miles a day,” said Ruggiero in an interview on the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office “Inside HCSO” show on YouTube.

Deputies from District 1 responded and took the dog to HCSO Animal Services. The dog was in such bad shape, he continuously vomited during the trip.

Deputy Ruggiero arrested the dog’s owner, Mark Spriggs, 41 of Tampa, on charges of felony aggravated cruelty to animals and violation of probation.

The dog, who was nicknamed “Chance” is recovering.

This was the fourth time in the last two months that a Tampa Bay area law enforcement officer has rescued a dog.

On March 4, Tampa police officers rescued a dog that had been shot and tied to railroad tracks in Sulphur Springs. The story of “Cabela” survival went viral, making headlines around the world. Read about the arrest of Cabela’s suspected abusers.

On March 6, Officer Butterworth, who is with the Pinellas Park Police Department, jumped into a lake to rescue a dog named “Daisy” who broke free from her leash and fell in the water.

On March 20, the same Pinellas Park Police Department officer rescued a Chihuhua that was frantically trying to get out of the water in a canal.

Copyright 2015 WFLA. All rights reserved.

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