Actor Dave Bautista adopts ‘horribly abused’ 3-month-old puppy

TAMPA, Fla. — Actor and former professional wrestler Dave Bautista on Thursday announced that he adopted a 3-month-old puppy who was brought to the Humane Society of Tampa Bay last week with a metal chain embedded in and hanging from her neck.

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Officials with the Humane Society shared photos Thursday of Bautista signing adoption papers and going home with Sage.

Humane Society officials said a good Samaritan brought the puppy to the agency Sept. 16 after seeing her eating garbage at a cemetery in Tampa. The person “stopped and Sage immediately ran up to her,” officials said.

“She is very sweet and friendly,” Humane Society officials wrote in a Sept. 16 Facebook post. “Even though she is in immense pain Sage was wagging her tail on the exam table while our veterinarian and vet techs were examining her.”

The puppy had to undergo surgery to remove the metal chain around her neck, according to the Humane Society of Tampa Bay.

“In addition to the chain, we noticed that Sage has skin issues and overgrown nails,” agency officials wrote on Facebook. “We can’t imagine who would do this to her.”

Days after the post went online, Bautista took to Instagram to offer a $5,000 reward to anyone who could provide information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person responsible for Sage’s condition. The Humane Society of Tampa Bay also offered a $1,500 reward for information.

In an video update posted on Instagram on Thursday, Bautista said Alvarez Injury Law, a personal injury attorney in Tampa, had added $5,000 to the reward, bringing the total to $11,500.

“The bad news is … we haven’t found this person responsible for it, but the good news is today, the puppy you know as Sage actually became Penny Bautista,” he said in the video. “So, I’d like to introduce you to the newest member of my family.”

Bautista said Thursday that Penny was “healing up, nice and recovered.”

“She is now a Bautista and she will never be abused again a day in her life, not a second in her life,” he said while snuggling the dog. “She’s about to live her best puppy life ever. … She has her forever home.”

It’s not the first time the “Guardians of the Galaxy” actor has come to the rescue of dogs in need. In 2019, Bautista adopted 6-year-old pit bulls Maggie and Ollie after their owners gave them up because they had a new baby, the Tampa Bay Times reported.