Bela was set to be put down last week after his owner, an Aurora, Ind. woman, asked that he be buried with her or sent to the Utah sanctuary.
FOX19 NOW first brought you the story, creating an explosion on social media of the hashtag #SaveBela.
“It's wonderful to be able to welcome Bela here,” said Gregory Castle, CEO, Best Friends Animal Society. “It speaks to our principle of valuing all animal life. In this case, there was potential for something terrible to happen, but we are set up to give him a great life and all indications are that he is a beautiful and wonderful dog.”
Best Friends tweeted a photo of Bela sleeping in a bed Saturday morning saying, "Bela was happy to curl up last night after a long day of travel. Sweet dreams, Bela! #BelaIsSafe #BelasJourney ^MM"
The society also tweeted a photo of Bela roaming around Saturday afternoon in the snow saying, "Bela isn't letting the winter weather ruin his mood - in fact, he loves the snow! #BelaIsSafe #BelasJourney ^MM"
According to Best Friends Animal Society, Bela will work with the trainers and animal behavior specialists so that he has every opportunity to enjoy a full and rich life.
The attorney handling the estate originally said sending Bela to Best Friends Animal Shelter was not financially possible but an outcry from the community prompted another look.
Bela was being boarded at PAWS of Dearborn County after he was found with his owner Connie Lay at her home when she passed away.
According to volunteers, he is a smart, well trained, sweet dog who deserves a home and although, Attorney Doug Denmore said Bela's owner did keep a record of aggressive behavior, those that have handled the dog say he's shown no signs of being vicious.
"Over the last few days we have learned more about Bela from the deceased attorney's and friends," said Barbara Williamson, media relations manager for Best Friends Animal Society. "Bela has a history of intermittent aggression and his owner, Connie Lay was concerned about appropriate care and management of him after her death given Bela's special needs. Her attorney and her designated friend, charged to decide what was best for Bela, were unaware of Best Friends experience in providing appropriate care for dogs like Bela."
Best Friends Animal Society decided that rather giving up on him, they will work on him.
"At Best Friends, we believe that the life of every animal has intrinsic value and we will always do our level best to help Save Them All, which is the core of our mission," Williamson said. "Our trainers and animal behavior specialists will work with Bela so that he will have every opportunity to enjoy a full and rich life."
Best Friends Animal Sanctuary specializes in aggressive behavior. 22 dogs seized from NFL star Michael Vick's home amid a dog-fighting scandal were rehabilitated at Best Friends.