A dog in Tennessee whose owner dumped it at a shelter because he thought it was gay was saved from euthanasia at the last minute by a kindhearted animal lover.
The dog was left with a rabies control shelter in Jackson, Tenn., this week "not because he's mean or tears things up… But because his owner says he's gay!" the group Jackson TN Euthanasia, which tries to find homes for dogs in kill-shelters, posted on its Facebook page on Wednesday.
"He hunched another male dog so his owner threw him away because he refuses to have a 'gay' dog!" the group wrote in a post that went viral, leading to thousands of comments online and hundreds of people calling the shelter.
One of those callers was Stephanie Fryns, a veterinary tech from Jackson, who rescued the bulldog-mix. She named him Elton.
Fryns, who owns four dogs, told ABCNews.com that she saw Elton on an adoption website and had made plans to rescue him even before his story went viral.
Fryns said the pooch weighed 50 pounds, and "was pretty friendly so far. He's pretty scared of everything, which is understandable. But he loved the car ride."
She said bulldog and bull-mixes routinely showed up in the area's shelters because of a widespread and illicit interest in dog fighting.
Elton, she said, had some redness on his ears but it was impossible to say if they were bites from other fighting dogs. She doubted he had been fought routinely because he was "submissive."
Homosexual behavior has been recorded in more than 1,000 different animal species, but it is likely that Elton was simply displaying typical dominance behavior when mounting another male dog, rather than being gay.
Pairs of male penguins nesting together to raise an egg have made headlines at zoos in Canada, Denmark and Spain. A study of Alaskan albatrosses in 2010 found that most of the nesting couples on one island consisted of female pairs.
There are plenty of mammals, including giraffes, dolphins and bonobos, an ape species closely related to chimps and humans, that have gay sex for pleasure, according to the book "Biological Exuberance" by Bruce Baghemi.