The president of the Catholic League has responded to the news that a dog which was rescued after being condemned to being put down because his owner thought he was gay.

Bill Donohue wrote a statement on the Catholic League’s website, which said that the dog was saved simply because its owner suspected he was gay, that it was a “bonus”, and that it had an advantage over other dogs, disabled and straight.

Mr Donohue wrote: “The place where Elton was dropped, Euthanasia Jackson [Tennessee], encourages dog adoption, but it also promotes dog euthanasia. Not, however, in Elton’s case: the shelter has no stomach for putting dogs down on the basis of sexual orientation.

“It must be said, though, that the shelter is not exactly inclusive in its policies. To wit: Had poor Elton not been identified as a homosexual, his heterosexuality would not have been enough to save his hide.”

He concludes: “The moral of the story is: Being gay is not only a bonus for humans these days, it is a definite plus for dogs as well. As for straights, the lonely and the disabled, that’s another story altogether.”

The dog, named Elton, was scheduled to be put to death on Friday at an animal control centre in Jackson, Tennessee.

Posting on the Facebook page set up in order to find someone to adopt the dog one user confirmed that she had spoken to the kennel, that she had arranged to adopt the do. She named the dog Elton.

The former owner thought Elton was gay, because the dog was seen “hunched over” another male dog, and so he thought he was showing signs of being gay.

Historically such behaviour was seen as a sign of dominance, and wouldn’t be indicative of a dog’s sexual orientation.

More recent research from MichaelBaugh.com shows research which suggests that such behaviour is “merely a nonspecific sign of arousal”, and that dogs will hump other dogs, or inanimate objects for “play” reasons, or because of nervousness or excitement, and that it is not necessarily a sign of sexual urge.

Those critical of the decision by the owner leading up to these events, have said that, even if the behaviour did indicate that the dog was gay, it wasn’t a reason to warrant turning him in to an overcrowded kennel.

Other users posted that other kennels had offered to take the dog, and some encouraged those considering adopting the dog to take on one of the other dogs at the shelter which could be put down.