Marvel actor and former professional wrestler David Bautista, a Tampa resident, has offered a reward to find out who severely abused the dog he recently adopted from the Humane Society of Tampa Bay.
Celebrity friends and others saw the story and more than doubled the reward for information on who neglected the dog that was found with a metal chain embedded in her neck.
The puppy was brought to the shelter earlier this week when a woman driving home in Tampa saw the dog eating garbage, noticed the injuries and rushed her to the shelter, the Humane Society said on its Facebook page. The puppy was named Sage (and later renamed Penny Bautista by her new family) and is estimated to be 3 months old.
“This dog was found abandoned in a cemetery eating garbage and went home in Dave Bautista’s Rolls Royce,” said Sherry Silk, CEO of the Humane Society of Tampa Bay. “Talk about a rags to riches story.”
Her story went viral after Bautista shared it on Instagram, offering $5,000 for anyone who would help find the person who abused or neglected the dog.
Actor Jeffrey Dean Morgan from the Walking Dead commented that he’d throw another $500 into the pot, and actor Mickey Rourke offered $1,000. The Humane Society added $1,500 and Alvarez Injury Law in Tampa added another $5,000, Bautista said on Instagram.
The puppy is now recovering well from surgery to remove the chain from her neck, Bautista said.
He then introduced “the newest member of my family.”
“She is now a Bautista and will never be abused again a day in her life, not a second in her life,” Bautista said in an Instagram video, giving her a hug. “She’s going to live her best puppy life ever.”
Bautista is known in the Marvel Cinematic Universe for his Drax the Destroyer character in the Guardians of the Galaxy franchise. He is also a former WWE wrestler.
Anyone with information on the abuse of the dog can email Silk at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 813-774-4309.