“We love our dog and would never do anything to hurt him,” said owner Jennifer Lyn Gordon. “This whole thing has been much ado about nothing, and to be perfectly frank, I have not appreciated seeing my picture on television and being called an animal abuser.”

A couple arrested on animal cruelty charges has their dog back and say it is actually suffering from a tumor — not from being underfed as police have claimed.

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Panama City police described the dog as being in “pain and suffering” allegedly from not being fed in several days. However, the couple disagrees and said that is because Tank, their 13-year-old pit-bull, has a tumor in his abdomen.

“He is still well-fed and well-loved, but he’s sick,” said Gordon.

Here’s more from Panama City News Herald:

Jennifer Lyn Gordon and Justin Bernard Sebastian both were out of jail Thursday after being arrested earlier in the week. The Panama City Police Department reported that while officers were responding April 22 to a complaint at the Star Motel, 836 Harrison Ave., they discovered a malnourished pit-bull dog in the couple’s care and then took the two into custody. Both Gordon and Sebastian were charged with a felony count of animal cruelty and two misdemeanor counts of resisting arrest without violence in the case, court records stated.

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Gordon said that the appearance stems from Tank’s age and a tumor in his abdomen. She said he was diagnosed in December and doctors gave him weeks to live. Rather than pursuing surgery – which could have amounted to a death sentence at his age – Gordon elected to let him live with the tumor, watching for any signs of pain or diminished enjoyment of life, she said.

“It’s been scary to leave him by himself for only a few moments because of his health,” Gordon said. “But he is always fed and always loved.”

Gordon said despite indulging Tank with pizza, she tries to give him healthy food the rest of the time. She and Sebastian plan to challenge the charges.

They both are scheduled to be arraigned May 30.

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Do you believe them?

Or do you think the police had it right?