By Nora Hakramaj
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Videographer / director: Ruaridh Connellan
Producer: Nora Hakramaj, Ellie Winstanley
Editor: Marcus Cooper
Six-year-old pit-bull, Cuda Cares, is one of only 17 dogs on earth to suffer from short spine syndrome, which causes a large neck, an under-bite, elongated paws and a sloped back.
Owner and former animal control officer, Julie LeRoy put her career on the line to save her beloved pit-bull.
Julie, 50, from Kingston, NY said: “She was purchased off of Craigslist for $50 from a guy who was breeding dogs out of his house.
“I got called out to a complaint and the people in the house told me they rescued this pit-bull puppy and they asked me if I wanted to see her. They told me that they couldn’t keep her.
“Although I knew that it was against protocol by not wanting to take her back to the shelter and having her become an official surrender, I knew that I couldn’t bring her back there.
“You can say I risked my job to save this dog.”
Husband Scott LeRoy ,45, said: “We already had four dogs at the time and I really didn’t want a fifth.
When she brought her home, my eyes just got huge, I looked at her and I was like, “Oh my god what’s wrong with this dog?”
The pitbull’s unusual looks causes quite a crowd, which makes her unable to go out for a stroll on the street without a comment from someone.
Julie added, "The biggest reaction is that they are surprised because nobody has ever seen anybody like her.
“People will come up and tell me that she is in pain, I’m being cruel by keeping her alive and that I’m exploiting her like she’s a circus side act.”
With 21,000 followers on Facebook Julie uses Cudas popularity to find more dogs with the similar condition.
“We decided to put Cuda on Facebook because we thought she was the only dog out there in the world.
“A photo of another dog started circulating and people were posting it on our page because the dog looked just like her.
“I located that dog in Italy. And I Struck up a conversation with the dog’s owner and she’s the one who introduced me to Short Spine Syndrome.”
Despite her condition she still lives the life of a regular dog with no limitations.
“Cuda is very much a diva she runs the house.
“I think we spoilt her that way because we just didn’t know what was gonna happened with her and we just wanted her to be happy her entire life.
“She changed everything for me and my husband.
“We were lonely and just moved to North Carolina with no friends and she changed all of that for us. She brought us tons of friends and gave us a purpose.
“Our whole life revolves around taking care of her and all of our dogs.
She is one in a million- I want to save our every moment with her entire life.”