Abused Pit Bull named Champ to get new 'leash' on life

There's a lead dog in the quest for Champ the Pit Bull.

"Based on the documents filed in the court... He's gonna be treated more like a King," attorney Juan Guerra said.

A non-profit animal rights group out of New York called the Lexus Project wants to take sole custody of the Pit Bull that's at the center of an animal cruelty case in Harlingen.

The project's founder, Richard Rosenthal, says about two dozen dogs facing death or incarceration as a vicious animal have been rescued.

Champ's story on Action 4 News about the 4-year-old dog who faced being euthanized after his owner punched him in the face touched Richard's heart.

"Because the dog did nothing wrong... There's a dog in risk of being put to sleep solely because his owner abused him."

Jose Gonzales has been charged in the case.

The dog's owner admitted he did wrong but says he acted out of self defense when Champ bit him.

The dog was apparently trying to protect a female Pit Bull that Jose said he was disciplining at the time.

Champ is at the Harlingen Humane Society where workers say he's being well taken care of.

He spends most of his time in quarantine because the shelter is afraid he could be stolen from the general population.

The Lexus Project wants to send Champ to a rescue organization.

A trust fund has been set up for Champ should a judge grant the project sole guardianship.

In addition to food and other necessities, Champ would also receive annual checkups and veterinary care, toys, grooming, dog walking and anything else to improve the "quality of life" for the dog under the trust.

"He'd go with someone who understands the breed and is capable of caring for the dog and protecting him," Richard said.

Juan Guerra represents the suspect's attorney.

He says his client will likely agree to the terms with no preconceived notion of a plea deal.

"He doesn't care whether he's going to have to fight his criminal charge... He just wants what's in the best interest of Champ."

It's a dog one step closer to freedom.

A Tuesday court hearing was canceled regarding the status of a temporary restraining order to prevent Champ from being euthanized.

A judge is expected to make a decision on whether or not to grant the Lexus Group guardianship over the animal in the next few weeks.

Champ will remain protected at the shelter.

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