Concerned citizens continue their fight over a pit bull left out in the heat, even after the Sheriff says the pet's owners aren't breaking the law.

Residents claim the dog is in danger and rescue groups are offering to take the animal from the owners.

On Wednesday, the dog's owners spoke out for the first time.

The dog's owners spoke to Channel 3 at the Bradley County Sheriff's Office, and apologized after all the negative backlash. They told us they wanted to speak out and set the record straight.

Timothy White wanted us, and you, to meet Sparkle.

She's the same pit bull pictured on Facebook, in a post that's gone viral, meant to shame the owners for keeping the dog caged outside on a hot day.

"They painted this picture to make it look like we keep our dog out there 24/7, no water, no food, when that's not so," White said.

He admitted that he does crate his dog outside on a regular basis.

"When I leave the house, yeah, we will take it out and put it outside in a cage. When we're cleaning up inside, we'll take the dog and put it outside in the cage. And then, we bring the dog back in," he explained.

The BCSO was called to the home at least four times after recent complaints.

"Our investigation said that the dog does come outside in the crate, but doesn't stay outside for an extended period of time. It's really a house dog," said BCSO spokesperson James Bradford.

State law requires dog owners to provide their pets with adequate food, water, and shelter that doesn't confine them in a cruel manner.

"We looked at the dog, looked at the environment, looked at the house condition and all that, and everything was up to par," Bradford said.

But concerned citizens like Vanessa Curley disagree.

"This dog has been confined in a cruel manner. It has been witnessed over and over again," she said.

Curley is upset the SPCA, the county's acting animal control service, was never called to investigate.

"We were never contacted. If we would have been, we would've responded," said Bradley County SPCA President Ed Elkins.

Elkins explained the county protocol. If the Sheriff's Office thinks an animal is in danger, then the SPCA will be sent out, he said.

If you're concerned about a dog in your area, contact your local animal control. If your county does not have an animal control service, call 911.