Starving German Shepherd likely chewed off own leg after being chained outdoors without food

Her owner has been arrested and charged with torturing and injuring animals.

Ashley Tan| November 23, 03:11 PM

The Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) in New York, United States recently uncovered a shocking case of animal abuse involving a German Shepherd that was so deprived of nutrition that it was suspected to have chewed off its own leg.

The discovery of the dog, named Zoe, subsequently led to the arrest of her owner on charges of failing to provide the animal with proper care, among others.

Chained outside with no food and water

In a Facebook post, the SPCA based in Susquehanna (a county in Pennsylvania) first caught wind of a dog tied up to a shelter outdoors. The UPS driver that alerted the organisation said the dog's leg looked like it had been "blown off".

With the help of the New York State Police, SPCA volunteers managed to rescue Zoe.

She had reportedly been chained up outside with only a plastic pet carrier for shelter. She was also given no food, with her bowl observed to have been covered in snow, according to the New York Post.

In the photos SPCA uploaded, Zoe looks to be missing almost all of her left leg.

The leg ends in a raw, bloody stump near her shoulder, which seems to be unnaturally swollen as well.

[Warning: the following images may be too disturbing for some]

Photo from Susquehanna SPCA / FB

Photo from Susquehanna SPCA / FB

Dog had other ailments

The nine-year-old was brought to Oneonta Veterinary Clinic, where she was described to be "very emaciated".

It was there that they shockingly determined she had likely chewed off her own leg after they found bones in her stomach, reported the Daily Mail.

After patching up her leg, SPCA revealed in further updates that Zoe was transferred to the Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine, where they discovered that the senior dog was suffering from other health conditions like heart murmur and anaemia.

Fortunately, tests revealed that the large mass on her shoulder, originally thought to be cancerous, was simply a fatty tumour.

Zoe eventually went through a successful surgery with her tumour removed and leg properly amputated, and is "doing well".

The local SPCA is appealing for donations to cover Zoe's medical bills, which reportedly amounted to over US$5,000 (S$6,813).

The organisation is also looking for anyone willing to adopt her — potential adopters, however, have to undergo an adoption counselling process. Zoe will also require frequent visits to the vet in the future.

Here's a shot of Zoe all happy after her rescue.

Photo from New York State Police / FB

Owner arrested

Meanwhile, Zoe's owner was arrested, according to a Facebook post from the New York State Police on Wednesday (Nov. 20).

59-year-old Carl Pritchard, who stays in Exeter, New Hampshire, was charged on Monday (Nov. 18) with torturing and injuring animals, failure to provide proper sustenance and failure to provide appropriate shelter for dogs left outdoors.

Top photo from Susquehanna SPCA / FB