“We received a call from a neighbour who recognized the dog after seeing her in the media,” Marcie Moriarty of the B.C. SPCA said in a statement.
The tip led to the identification of the dog's owner—a Coquitlam resident and university student in his 20s.
"After interviewing him, we believe there is sufficient evidence to move forward with animal cruelty charges under both the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act and the Criminal Code of Canada,” Moriarty's statement continued.
The severely malnourished dog, named Willow by officers, weighed only 15 kilograms when it was found by a member of the public near 256th Street and 128th Avenue in Maple Ridge,
That is just a fraction of the normal weight of 24 kilograms for the breed and size, according to a statement issued by the SPCA.
Willow is estimated to be between one and two years old.
Senior animal protection officer Eileen Drever said the young female dog was so hungry it was eating soil and rocks to survive.
“When she first came in she was unable to lie down due to abdominal pain caused by rocks and soil in her gastrointestinal tract,” says Drever.
“There were no food remnants in her stomach, so we think she was eating gravel to try to stay alive.”