There is nothing more cruel or more egregious than animal abuse, and the statistics are harrowing. According to the Humane Society of the United States, almost 1 million animals are abused or killed due to domestic violence. There are a multitude of ways you can help prevent abuse in your community, and former WWE star wrestler and award-winning actor Dave Bautista is a shining example for pet parents everywhere. Beloved for his portrayal of superhero Drax the Destroyer in Marvel’s The Guardians of the Galaxy franchise, Bautista proves he’s just as heroic in real life as he is on the big screen.
The Dave Bautista puppy adoption story is both heartwarming and heart-wrenching. On September 26, the Humane Society of Tampa Bay (HSTB) shared the story of an abused pit bull puppy named Sage, who was found eating garbage, a metal chain cutting dangerously into her emaciated neck. The HSTB also revealed that poor Sage, who had been in the shelter’s care for weeks, required surgery to remove the chain. Then 3 months old, Sage was put up for adoption. Bautista heard Sage’s story and called to inquire about the person — or people — responsible for her injuries. Bautista promises to “personally hand” $5,000 to anyone who could provide information resulting in the arrest and conviction of the abusers, and Alvarez Injury Law of Tampa, Florida, has matched his offer. The HSTB also promises to give $1,500 to anyone willing to provide information. Sage’s former owners have not been found thus far.
Earlier this week, Bautista took to Instagram with incredible news, saying in a video, “The good news is, the puppy you know as Sage actually became Penny Bautista. So, I’d like to introduce you to the newest member of my family — healing up nice and recovered. She is now a Bautista, and she will never be abused again a day in her life. She is about to live her best puppy life ever, and she has her forever home.” Already a pit bull papa to Maggie and Ollie, Bautista is no stranger to the breed. The Humane Society of Tampa Bay stated in an Instagram post: “Dave saw Sage’s story and knew that she belonged with him! We are so excited for Sage! She went from eating trash in a cemetery with a chain embedded around her neck to starting an AMAZING new life with Dave and 2 new Pitty siblings.” Well done, Dave Bautista, and congratulations to Maggie and Ollie on their new sister, Penny.
Unfortunately, not all abuse stories have such a happy ending. If you witness animal abuse, try to film it if you can do so without putting your safety at risk. Contact the police immediately to report the location and give a description of the abuser. Not all abuse happens in plain sight. If you have reason to suspect an animal is being abused or neglected, get in touch with your local animal welfare agency or contact the Humane Society to file a report.