A dog chewed off her own leg after she was left chained up with no food or water, veterinarians believe.
Zoe the German Shepherd was found tied up in a yard in Exeter, upstate New York, with her water bowl frozen and covered in snow. Her left leg was missing.
Police rescued her after a UPS delivery driver reported seeing the emaciated dog, and medics subsequently found bones in her stomach.
Zoe’s owner Carl Pritchard, 59, is now facing animal cruelty charges.
Animal rescuers say Zoe is making good progress but have warned that her medical bills will run to thousands of dollars.
Wounded: Zoe the German Shepherd was found missing part of her leg after she was tied up in a yard in Exeter, upstate New York, with her water bowl frozen and covered in snow
Medics feared that a large mass in her shoulder was cancerous, but a CT scan revealed that it may only be a fatty tumor.
In their latest update on Wednesday, Susquehanna SPCA said Zoe had ‘made it through surgery and is doing well’.
‘The surgeons say they believe they were able to fully remove the mass and successfully amputate her leg,’ they explained.
‘The next 24 hours are critical as she will be monitored coming out of anesthesia and is at risk for bleeding. The goal is for her to leave the hospital on Friday or Saturday.’
Experts said Zoe’s age, heart murmur and anemia were ‘all very serious issues to be managed during a risky procedure’.
Recovery: Animal rescuers say Zoe, pictured with a bandaged leg, is making good progress but have warned that her medical bills will run to thousands of dollars
Dr Joan Puritz at Oneonta Veterinary Clinic said Zoe apparently chewed off her front leg, which may have been diseased or injured.
‘The dog was very emaciated. She may not have been getting enough nutrition. The leg was probably injured and she was trying to take care of it herself,’ she said.
‘I’ve never seen anything like this. It breaks your heart. She’s such a sweet dog.’
Zoe, who is believed to be around nine years old, is being treated at the Cornell University veterinary school in Ithaca, New York.
Experts say the medical bills are likely to run up to $5,000 and have appealed for donations from animal lovers.
‘This chance to survive and live a peaceful life is made possible by the many caring people who have contributed to her care,’ the SPCA said.
Rescue: Police came to Zoe’s salvation after a UPS delivery driver reported seeing the emaciated dog, and medics subsequently found bones in her stomach
New York state police said Zoe’s owner Carl Pritchard, 59, was arrested and faces several charges including torturing and injuring animals and failing to provide shelter.
‘Veterinarians believe she chewed off her own arm, she was found with no food and water, living outside in a plastic pet crate with hay inside,’ a statement said.
Many people have already enquired about adopting Zoe, animal welfare workers revealed.
However, anyone interested will have to go through an adoption counselling process run by the Susquehanna SPCA.
‘For Zoe, because we know so little about her, we will be requiring her adopter to have no other animals and no small children,’ the organization said.
‘She will need lots of quiet time and patience. Additionally, she will continue to have medical needs that will require visits to a veterinarian.’