TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — Cabela, a 1-year-old mixed breed dog who was rescued after being shot and tied to railroad tracks in Tampa, has captured a nation's heart, while police have announced four arrests in connection with the dog's abuse.
"Cabela was shot because she wouldn't fight," said Andrea Davis, a Tampa Police spokeswoman.
The photo of the bloodied dog in the police officer's arms was widely circulated earlier this month.
Police have received thousands of messages in the case, including adoption offers, via phone calls, emails and through social media.
Cabela is being cared for at Tampa Bay Veterinary Emergency Service. Doctors initially thought Cabela's leg would have to be amputated, but they were able to save her leg.
Cabela will make a full recovery, Davis said.
The dog had been used for fighting and didn't do well, officials said, and that's why she was marked for death.
On Thursday, police said 18-year-old Darnell Devlin and 21-year-old Kenny Bell each face two counts of possession of a dogfighting dog. The arrests came after a search warrant of a home where Cabela had lived. Detectives discovered two more dogs that were used for fighting.
Also arrested were two 17-year-olds — Natwan Callaway and Bobby Hollinger — who were charged as adults. They were charged with aggravated animal cruelty and trespassing; Callaway was also charged with possession of a firearm.
All four are being held at the Hillsborough County Jail without bond. It's unclear if they have retained attorneys.
Police said surveillance video led to the arrests. It showed four people walking to the tracks with the dog on March 4. Two adults left, but the teens stayed, and shortly after, officers responded to the area for a shots fired call.
That's when they found Cabela.
Rich Mills, one of the officers who responded to the scene, told local media that Cabela was bleeding from the gunshot wounds and tied with her head pinned to the tracks when police found her. He said officers were surprised that she was not whimpering or crying.
"It touched me," Mills said of the scene. "It was almost eerie - like that she was just letting us come to her aid."
The owner of the veterinary office posted on Facebook that Cabela is doing well.
A recent photo showed the brindle-and-white on her back in a dog bed, belly up, in a pink cast.
Follow Tamara Lush on Twitter at http://twitter.com/tamaralush