ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. -- The little dog tugging at heartstrings across central Florida is facing a new threat.
Rufus the beagle has contracted an upper respiratory infection while his family fights to keep him from being euthanized.
His family said they are even more concerned about his health while he's being held at Orange County Animal Services after biting a 4-year-old boy.
The 1-year-old beagle weighed 28 pounds when he arrived April 9.
He's lost about three pounds since then. His former owner's attorney said he's scared and not eating the food animal services is providing.
The animal services veterinarian sent an email to the county saying Rufus is "bright, alert and responsive" and that some weight-loss is normal when environments change.
Rufus' former owner, who said she regrets turning him over after he bit her son, believes he is very sick.
Rufus is now on antibiotics because the vet to combat the infection.
"We're still waiting for a hearing in front of a judge. That could be days or weeks, and we're not sure if Rufus will survive that long in animal services," said Jamie Halscott, Rufus' former owner's attorney.
Diane Summers with Animal Control said the shelter gives the animals the treatment they need if something is wrong.
We have a staff veterinarian who does daily rounds and examines the animals," Summers said.
Rufus' family said that's not enough, along with almost 19,000 Facebook supporters.
"We're very concerned that animal services, despite their best efforts, isn't able to provide him with the treatment he needs there," Halscott said.
The attorney is pushing to have Rufus moved to a county-approved animal refuge in hopes he'll adapt better to those surroundings.
Until the attorney hears back from the mayor's office, Rufus will stay put behind gate S-36 and Orange County Animal Services.
A hearing date hasn't been set yet.