LARGO — Pinellas Sheriff Bob Gualtieri's inbox was inundated with emails from people who wanted the "In Dog We Trust" rug that he removed from his agency's lobby.
They came from dog lovers throughout the United States, Europe and South America. Even the National Sheriffs' Association sent him a message.
With the infamous rug sprawled next to him, Gualtieri announced Thursday that it will be sold in an online auction ending at 4 p.m. Wednesday.
The auction began Thursday afternoon and within minutes the bidding had reached $1,000.
"Whoever the high bidder is will get this rug that is definitely one of a kind," the sheriff said in a news conference. "I can tell you that there has never been and there will never be a rug like that again."
The auction proceeds will go to Canine Estates, a nonprofit formed by three sisters taking care of injured and abandoned dogs in a 4,000-square-foot home in Palm Harbor.
Last year, the organization placed 186 dogs in forever homes and is currently housing 40.
"We're so excited. We feel so honored and we're speechless. We're absolutely speechless that we got chosen," said Jayne Sidwell, one of the sisters. "We're working so hard to place as many dogs as we can. We're humbled and we're very grateful."
The green rug displaying a large sheriff's star was placed a few months ago in the lobby of the new $81 million public safety complex, which opened last year.
On Tuesday, someone spotted the spelling error and the $500 rug was removed the following day.
Proofs the agency signed and submitted to the manufacturer, American Floor Mats, had the correct spelling. The company will replace the rug at no cost.
"This is a brief moment of levity," Gualtieri said. "This was just one of those things that happens. I find the humor in it."
Contact Laura C. Morel at firstname.lastname@example.org or (727) 445-4157.