Found in appalling circumstances, the sweet rescue pooch has transformed into the perfect spokesdog to prevent animals from suffering like he did.

Deputy Chance, shelter dog of the year posing in front of Sheriff car
Credit: Savannah Young / American Humane Communications

Officers from the Lee County Sheriff's Office in Fort Myers, Fla., responded to a call in February 2019 about an animal abuse situation. Sheriff Carmine Marceno tells Daily Paws that what his team discovered on the scene sparked an immediate investigation.

"Chance was found with his mouth taped shut," Marceno says. "He was suffocating and suffering from wounds consistent with dog fighting." It's presumed he was used as bait. The young pup, believed to be a Florida cur mixed breed, was taken to domestic animal services for proper medical treatment. But getting him the help he needed wasn't enough for Marceno, and officers activated an intense search for the suspect responsible for the innocent pup's injuries. 

Requiring the love and hope of a second chance at life to fully thrive, that became his name. "The first time I met Chance, I knew he was special," Marceno says. "I adopted him, deputized him, and chose a home for him within our sheriff's office family."

Deputized? That's right! Brave Chance made a quick recovery and Marceno was completely enamored with his positive personality. Now, Chance is Lee County's official spokesdog of the agency's Animal Cruelty Task Force and the face of its Deputy Dogs Pets on Patrol program. 

Deputy Chance, shelter dog of the year posing with Sheriff
Deputy Chance shows off a happy smile with Sheriff Carmine Marceno of the Lee County Sherrif's Office.
| Credit: Courtesy of Lee County Sheriff's Office

"Deputy Chance helps to spread our zero-tolerance policy for animal abuse. He's also the goodwill ambassador for the School District of Lee County," Marceno says. In this role, Deputy Chance works with Lieutenant Richard Castellon in the community response unit, visiting hospitals, schools, and clubs. During most appearances, they share the story of this dog's amazing transformation and spread awareness about shelter dog adoption, along with educational material about animal abuse.  

Because of his inspirational tale and dogged advocacy, Deputy Chance is a finalist for the American Humane 2021 Hero Dog Awards, airing Wednesday, October 20 on Hallmark Drama.

Dogs Making a Difference

Chance isn't the only proud pooch with a badge in the Lee County Sheriff's Office. You may have heard about Gunner, the Cavalier King Charles spaniel who was saved by his owner from the jaws of an alligator. As another Deputy Dog member, Gunner helps build awareness about wildlife safety. 

Marceno believes Chance, now 3, is the perfect spokesdog to help prevent animals from suffering like he did. "Together, we have created a brand that puts abusers in jail and educates the public on animal cruelty," Marceno says. "I hope Deputy Chance and my Animal Cruelty Task Force encourages other law enforcement agencies from all over to join us in our fight against animal abuse." 

So far, the partnership seems to be working. The Naples Daily News reported in June 2021 that Chance's abuser was found guilty in 2020 of aggravated animal abuse and sentenced to five years of probation. A necessary swift paw of justice, to be sure.