'Starved to death': Emaciated dog found in the compound has new family

PALM BAY, Fla. - A starving dog dumped and abandoned in the compound just found his forever family.

You might recognize the two-year-old pup named Luca. His picture was shared hundreds of times on social media when he was found in the compound.

The picture of him even got neighbors to start a rescue group looking out for abandoned dogs. FOX 35 was the first to show you that group when it was just getting started and has grown exponentially in the last few weeks.

Over the years, FOX 35 has reported on a lot of crime coming from the compound. It hasn’t been easy for officials to find a solution in the undeveloped area. Now, neighbors are working together to make it a little safer by saving dogs that were left behind.

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"He’s two years old. He was starved to death. Why? What reason for that?," asked Jay Penfield who just took Luca home from the animal shelter on Thursday.

Penfield will never know why, but he knew he had to help the dog he saw left behind in the compound.

"Seeing him just sparked this thing in me where I felt like I needed to go out there and rescue this animal," said Penfield.

He wasn’t alone. Luca’s picture was shared hundreds of times on social media. People decided it was time to do something about dumped dogs.

"I knew what needed to happen. I just didn’t know how to make it happen," said Jessie Paige who had already been rescuing dogs in Florida and jumped in to help when she saw the call-out on Facebook.

FOX 35 first met Jessie and a small group of volunteers less than a month ago. They had just started a Facebook group and were trying to organize searches to save abandoned animals.

"She formed the group on Facebook. Everybody started meeting out here on Saturdays," added Paige.

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A few weeks later, the group’s exploded to 2,000 members, and in just a few weeks, they've been able to form a new nonprofit rescue called B.A.R.K.

"I love it, and I would really like to see more people in the community come and do their part to try and prevent this type of stuff from happening," said Penfield.

He hopes that more people will join the group so more dogs like Luca can go from starving to being saved.

"I cried. I did. I just got him so yeah, he’s part of the family now," concluded Penfield.

While this group started in the compound, they say dogs are being dumped all over Brevard County. They now want to expand their searches and are always looking for new volunteers, donations and fosters.