EAST VILLAGE — Star, a dog that survived being shot by a cop earlier this month, is doing "fairly well" according to the city's Animal Care and Control agency, which assumed ownership of the animal Friday night.
"Fortunately, Star’s medical status is improving," wrote AC&C spokesman Richard Gentles in an email Saturday, which included photos of the sleeping dog in recovery.
"She is eating and moving around more," he had written earlier in the week, adding that she was "receiving excellent medical care and treatment" that had cost up to $10,000.
The treatment was being paid for through donations to the agency's Special Treatment and Recovery fund, which he said the agency was "grateful" for.
"She would not have been able to survive her injuries without it," he said. He added that she was not yet healthy enough to to have visitors.
The afternoon incident occurred on Aug. 13 at East 14th Street and Second Avenue, when the female pit bull lunged at a police officer who had approached the dog's owner who was lying despondent on sidewalk, witnesses said. Despite the gunshot wound, the dog survived and was taken to the AC&C in East Harlem.
Until 8 p.m. Friday, the dog's original owner, reported by the New York Times' The Local as Lech Stankiewicz, 29, had the right to reclaim her, but as of Saturday, the dog was officially in the city's care and ownership. The Local reported that the owner had a history of epilepsy and other health problems.
When she is well enough, she will become free for adoption, as part of the New Hope program, an outreach initiative that seeks to find housing for the city's homeless pets, Gentes said.
The dog had originally been reported as dead, but was later found to be in the care of the AC&C, the organization contracted to care for the city's lost and abandoned animals.
Since the shooting, animal activists from California to Texas to New Jersey have been following Star's case to ensure the dog gets all the medical treatment she needs to survive.
"Stories get spread around really fast with animal rights activists," said Michelle Lynn, 34, an animal cruelty investigator with the state of New Jersey, who also rescues dogs from shelters in her spare time. "I always tell people we [animal activists] are a stronger army then they think."
An amateur video of the shooting shows the moment when a police officer attempts to wake Star's owner. The dog lunged at the officer, who reached for his gun, pulled the trigger and sent Star stumbling along the road before the dog collapsed in front of a bus.
"I have watched the video at least 30 times," said Lynn. From her observations and professional background, Lynn said Star never intended to attack, but was taking charge of the space surrounding her owner.
Lynn, along with other activists such as Elizabeth Torres from Texas, has called the Animal Care and Control numerous times — all of them going to voice message — to keep pressure on the organization in an attempt to ensure Star's survival.
"If I'm going to donate $500, I wanted to talk to someone," said Torres, of the AC&C, a non-profit.
Another animal lover, Sasha Sabbeth, a life coach in San Francisco's Bay Area, has been rallying other activists through social media to keep Star in the spotlight.
Sabbeth compared the pit-bull's story to other headlines grabbing cases she has worked on such as "Patrick" a pit bull that was tortured in New Jersey last year and "Snoop," a dog who was found dead from malnutrition on a Wisconsin sidewalk.
"This dog [Star] was a hero trying to save its owner," said Sabbeth.