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Group saves stray dog in Ozone Park

"The dog has been there since before Christmas," said Bobbi Giordano of Bobbi and The Strays, a non-profit that rescues strays and houses them at John F. Kennedy International Airport and the Shops at Atlas Park in Glendale. "We've tried many times to get this dog."The successful attempt occurred on St. Patrick's Day, when four Sanitation workers, Giordano and Ozone Park resident Tina Catanzaro rescued the pooch.A veterinarian girlfriend of one of the Sanitation workers put a tranquilizer in meat so the dog would be calm enough so they could remove a collar embedded in its neck, Catanzaro said.The mission became easy once the collar was off, said Sanitation worker Pat Maffea, who works out of a garage adjacent to where the dog was living for the last four months.He said Animal Care and Control set a trap for the dog, but he and other Sanitation workers let the pit bull out because they were concerned she would be euthanized.He said the dog looked "rundown" and "skinny" when he first noticed her.Gerard Plotawsky, his Sanitation colleague, brought a dog house for the pit bull to stay in about a month after she was discovered, Maffea said.The dog is now staying at the Vetport at JFK, a privately owned vet center for traveling animals, where Giordano also houses cats.Giordano said the pit bull was excited after the rescue."The dog jumped over a 6-foot fence [at the Vetport] and walked to the front of the building and waited for someone to take her in," she said."We're just glad that she's being taken care of now and that she has a roof over her head," Maffea said.Catanzaro named the dog "Angel.""She's an angel. She has a second chance of life," she said."She's more special to me than anything because I saw what she went through every day. I saw her every day for four months and it tore my heart apart," Catanzaro said, noting that the pit bull ate rats and cats for survival.Catanzaro said she believed the dog was dumped from the Nassau Expressway and stayed in the area thinking her owner would come back for her.Angel is now available for adoption."I'm going to make sure she gets a home and I'm not going to rest until she does," Catanzaro said.Reach reporter Howard Koplowitz by e-mail at hkoplowitz@timesledger.com or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 173.

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