Emily Valdez’s Hometown Hero

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CLEVELAND, Ohio-Vanessa Petrosky is known as Cleveland's canine crusader.

"I tend to do like the dogs that are more challenging. I like the abused, the sick ones the injured ones. I do like the underdog," Petrosky said.

For the past five years she's been rescuing and rehabilitating the underdogs.

"Gilbert is the one who was shot in the face and beaten with a baseball bat, so this is very special to see him after two years that he's so happy and has a family," she said.

Petrosky estimates she has fostered and saved several hundred dogs in the past five years.

"They are members of your family. They are like your kids," she said.

Petrosky's latest, and maybe greatest, animal adventure was helping to save and rehabilitate the 27 sickly dogs that police say were confiscated in December from a dog fighting ring on Cleveland's east side.

"It was one of the most horrific things I have ever seen. It was really sad," Petrosky said.

Police believe the dogs were used as bait to train the fighting dogs.

When her foster dog, Miera, was at the Cleveland Kennel after the police raid she was unable to even walk.

"It makes me feel so wonderful to see that I had a part in her progress and when I watch her now run and play and start socializing it's overwhelming," she said.

When she mends one dog, she finds them a loving home.

"They're just like kids. They're like my son and daughter," said Rick Smith who adopted two dogs from Petrosky.

"She's a good dog, rescued. But that means a lot too, what Vanessa does," said Rick Hagan who adopted a dog named Abbey from Petrosky.

Sadly, there is no shortage of abused and neglected dogs.

"You help one and then there's always another on waiting, and another one and another one and it just never ends," Petrosky said.