It seemed like nearly everybody wanted to adopt Angus T. Loner, a gigantic mastiff who lived for years as a stray outside a Nebraska meatpacking plant.

So the local humane society that*s who should have him — everybody.

Angus was*known by most in the town of Grand Island as the*”Swift dog” — due to his having lived outside the JBS Swift & Co. meatpacking plant for more than four years. A trucker had dumped the neutered pup while making a delivery to the plant.

For years, plant workers fed the dog meat scraps, bones*and their*lunch leftovers and set out dinner for him nightly. A* neighbor provided* shelter by leaving a barn open. Local police and animal control workers kept close tabs on the dog, according to the Grand Island Independent.

Over the years, there were more than 500 attempts to catch him — none of which succeeded until December, when he was*tranquilized and brought to the Central Nebraska Humane Society.

The humane society, as Angus became more social, began taking applications from those interested in adopting him. But between the many townsfolk interested in taking him home, all those who had helped care for the dog over the years and hoped to have continued access to him, and Angus* sometimes unruly behavior, the humane society decided it would be best to keep him, allowing him to serve as its official greeter, mascot and spokesdog — to be, in a way, a community dog.

Angus has become attached to his new caretakers — so much so that “he*s gone from being scared of people to severe separation anxiety,” said Laurie Dethloff, the society*s executive director.

When society staff set him up in the spacious cat play area overnight, Angus let*chewed the carpet and platform from the cat nesting tree and ripped the sill*off the room*s front window.

“We didn*t want to set him up for failure,” Dethloff said of placing him for adoption. Society officials decided keeping him would be a way to*continue to*share him with the public and honor what he represents. “For one, he has an awesome story to tell — about abandonment and a compassionate, caring community,” said Dethloff, who takes Angus home with her at night.

Angus, the Independent reports,*has come a long way from the dog that cowered in a corner and eluded those who tried to trap him.*He still needs to gain a little weight, and the humane society is working on getting him up*from six to 10 cups of dog food a day.

Angus is estimated to be about five years old.**While the first name the humane society chose for him comes from his size, and the meat he survived on over the years, his*middle initial — T — doesn*t stand for anything.

Angus, on the other hand — the dog a whole town adopted — clearly does.

(Photo: Barrett Stinson, The Grand Island Independent)