The story of Sausage started with a serious incident for Orange Cove Police, but after they put the squeeze on the dog, officers started seeing humor in it. Sausage is getting a second chance, but under one of the conditions of his release it won't be in Orange Cove.
Meek barks are the sounds of freedom for Sausage as he plays at the HOPE Spay & Neuter Center in Northwest Fresno. The 2-year-old Boxer mix seems friendly enough, but he nearly met his end after a showdown with Orange Cove Police.
Metal links kept sausage in a cage for almost 90 days -- the result of an attack on Sgt. Jesus Rivera, who was called out to tame a vicious dog. Rivera is a canine officer who has trained four police dogs, but he quickly realized Sausage could be bad for his health.
"Sausage the dog was a pretty vicious animal upon appearance," Sgt. Rivera said. "It was snarling and growling."
Rivera says Sausage bit him, but he was unharmed. The dog's former owner, Jason Winters, is charged with felony assault on a peace officer. He's in the Fresno County jail.
Most dogs placed in a city pound get 10 days before they're shipped off to the SPCA and a good chance of being euthanized. But Orange Cove Police kept Sausage at their pound much longer and even grew to like him.
Meanwhile, public defender Stephanie Negin filed a motion to preserve Sausage as evidence. A judge granted that motion last week, but with commands for the dog to follow.
"Conditions of his release are that he is neutered and he can't be a resident of Orange Cove," Negin said.
So, Sausage is no longer welcome in Orange Cove, and he can't go back to the owner accused of using him as an attack dog.
The Animal Compassion Team took custody of him, and even Sgt. Rivera is happy they'll make sure Sausage is not euthanized.
"As a dog handler, are you glad to know that now, Sausage won't fry?" an Action News reporter asked him.
"I'm definitely happy and excited that Sausage will have a new turn in life," Sgt. Rivera said.
The Animal Compassion Team is looking for someone to take home all 50 pounds of Sausage permanently. One thing, though: They've renamed him Jimmy Dean -- a new name to help with his new leash on life.