A dog in Jackson, Tenn., whose owner left him at an animal shelter because he thought he was gay, was saved from euthanasia on Thursday morning.

The healthy American bulldog-mix was dropped off at the Madison County Rabies Control shelter this week and was scheduled to be put down Thursday afternoon.

But a woman who pays regular visits to the kill shelter looking for dogs to rescue snapped a photo of the pup and posted it on Facebook, saying the animal was left at the facility "not because he’s mean or tears things up … But because his owner says he’s gay! He hunched [over] another male dog so his owner threw him away because he refuses to have a 'gay' dog," according to the post.

The post went viral, generating thousands of comments and prompting hundreds of calls to the shelter. Several people offered to pull the 50-pound dog from death row, but Jackson veterinary tech Stephanie Fryns was the one to adopt the bulldog-mix, whom she named Elton.

Fryns says bulldogs and bulldog mixes often show up in Tennessee shelters because of illegal dog fighting. But while Elton has some redness on his ears that could indicate dog bites, Fryns doubts he was fought routinely because his behavior is so submissive.

"He was pretty friendly so far. He’s pretty scared of everything, which is understandable. But he loved the car ride," she told ABC News.

While homosexual behavior has been recorded in thousands of animal species, it’s more likely that Elton was simply asserting dominance when he mounted the other male dog. Mounting behavior can also be a form of play, according to veterinarians.

Related posts on MNN:

Laura Moss writes about a variety of topics with a focus on animals, science, language and culture. But she mostly writes about cats.

'Gay' dog rescued from Tenn. animal shelter
The bulldog-mix was scheduled to be euthanized after his owner dropped him off at a shelter because he mounted another male dog.