When Linda Ruggiero, a sheriff’s deputy, saw a little dog being mistreated earlier this month, she not only saved the animal — she made sure the dog’s owner got the point about just how wrong it is to treat animals cruelly.
While there have been too many stories in recent months about police officers shooting dogs — often allegedly for no good reason at all — the fact is, there have also been plenty of stories of officers saving dogs in distress. But Linda Ruggiero’s story has the added feature of a law enforcement officer not only saving a an animal, but administering a degree of justice to the person causing pain for the innocent animal.
Here’s what happened, according to reports from Tampa’s WFLA-TV and from the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office itself.
It was back on April 8, a sizzling 86 degree day in Tampa, Florida, that Ruggiero made routine traffic stop on 142nd Avenue. No sooner had she finished that mundane duty, than she looked up and saw a man tugging on the leash of a dog that for some reason either did not want to or was unable to stand up.
The more she watched, the more she realized that the dog simply could not do what its apparent owner wanted him to do. Every time the dog tried to get to its feet, the poor little guy collapsed to the ground again.
The helpless dog was completely exhausted. His back legs simply could not do what his brain — and his heartless owner — wanted him to do.
So Ruggiero approached the man, who turned out to be 41-year-old Mark Spriggs of Tampa, and asked him what was going on. What was wrong with the dog? Spriggs’ answer was not what she wanted to hear, to say the least.
“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,” the deputy said in a YouTube interview.
That whole interview, part of the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office Inside HCSO web series, can be viewed on the page above.
Ruggiero called for assistance, and animal control officers showed up and took the exhausted, dehydrated dog from Spriggs. The dog, they learned, was named Chance. But Chance was sick from the torture that its owner allegedly inflicted.
The dog threw up several times on its way to the animal shelter.
But the good news is, Chance is now on his way to a full recovery.
As for Spriggs, well, he may need some time to recover as well. Linda Ruggiero wasn’t about to let him walk — especially when she found out he was already on probation. She hit him with the probation violation and busted him on a felony charge of animal cruelty as well. In other words, thanks to the alert and compassionate law enforcement officer, Spriggs won’t be able to abuse any dogs any time soon.
[Image: WFLA TV]