Peering forlornly from behind a wire fence, this dog was hours away from being put down - because his owner thought he was 'gay'.
He abandoned the healthy bulldog-mix hound at an overcrowded animal shelter in America, where he was due to be put down yesterday.
But, at the eleventh hour, the dog was saved thanks to a Facebook campaign which went viral.
Thousands volunteered to take him in, but in the end he was adopted by Stephanie Fryns, a veterinary technician, who called him Elton. According to a regular visitor at the shelter in Jackson, Tennessee, Elton’s old owner had noticed him ‘hunched over’ another male dog – so assumed he was homosexual.
She wrote on Facebook: ‘His owner threw him away because he refuses to have a “gay” dog!
‘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 story went viral across the internet, and animal lovers and rescue groups from around the US began trying to help the animal.
Minutes after the shelter opened yesterday morning, there was a happy ending thanks to Miss Fryns.
The shelter’s boss said: ‘I have had about ten million calls this morning. He’s been adopted already. He’s gone. He’s in good hands.’
Miss Fryns, who owns four other dogs, said she had seen Elton on an adoption website and planned to rescue him even before his story went viral.
She said he weighed 50lbs, and ‘was pretty friendly so far. He’s pretty scared of everything, which is understandable. But he loved the car ride.’
She added that bulldog and bulldog mixes are often abandoned in Tennessee shelters because of illegal dog fights held in the state.
Experts say a male dog mounting another male dog is not a sign of sexual orientation but rather a sign of the animal’s attempts to show dominance.