A dog who made national headlines this month after being abandoned by his owners for being “gay” has been adopted by a same-sex couple.
Last week, WCCB-TV in Charlotte, North Carolina, reported that 5-year-old Fezco was surrendered to Stanly County Animal Protective Services by his owners after the pup “humped another male dog.” The shelter shared the unfortunate news on its Facebook page.
Fezco’s story quickly made national headlines and caught the attention of Steve Nichols and his husband, John Winn, who live just outside Charlotte, not far from the shelter.
“I was in shock,” Nichols said of first reading about Fezco in the news. “I flipped through and passed to the next story, and then something snapped inside of me.”
He said he went back and reread the story and watched WCCB’s video coverage and then approached Winn with an idea.
“We’ve been together for 33 years, and in 33 years, we’ve faced the same ignorance, bigotry, but we talked about it, and we thought, ‘This time we’re going to do something about it.’”
Nichols called the TV station, and the reporter who covered the story helped put him in touch with the shelter. The couple signed adoption papers for Fezco less than 48 hours later.
But it wasn’t long before Nichols noticed the pup needed medical attention.
“I spent about an hour with him in the car, and it was obvious to me by being with him that he was in really bad health,” he told NBC News.
Following his adoption, Fezco was admitted to Pressly Animal Hospital, in Matthews, North Carolina, where he was treated for heartworms, neutered and given a health check.
As for his humping of another male dog, Dr. William Pressly, a veterinarian, said “all dogs do it” and it has nothing to do with a dog’s sexuality.
“It’s a dominance thing and a play thing,” he told WCCB.
In an interview, Nichols joked, “We’re pretty certain he’s not gay, because he hates having his picture taken. What gay person doesn’t want their picture taken?”
Fezco was, however, renamed by his new parents after a gay icon.
“We named him after Oscar Wilde, who is one of the most notoriously gay people in history,” Nichols said of the late Irish poet and playwright. “We like to give our pets animal, human names. We don’t like to call them Fluffy and Sparky or any of that.”
The couple has another dog, a small rescue named Harry that they adopted about 10 years ago. Harry was a groomsman at the couple’s wedding.
Jay Valle, an NBCU Academy embed, writes and produces digital content for NBC Out.