Skinny, sick dog leads to cruelty charges

A 32-year-old man faces animal cruelty charges in connection with an extremely emiaciated Great...

A 32-year-old man faces animal cruelty charges in connection with an extremely emiaciated Great Dane who was allegedly sold onlin. Charlie, the 5-year-old dog, was near death when it was surrendered to the Ottawa Humane Society late last month. The dog weighed in at a measly 53 pounds -- about half of the 120 pounds it should have weighed. (Submitted photo OTTAWA SUN/QMI AGENCY)

Danielle Bell, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 7:09 PM ET

A Great Dane starved to half its size is recovering while the man accused of depriving the dog before selling it online has been charged with animal cruelty.

Charlie, the 5-year-old dog, was near death when it was surrendered to the Ottawa Humane Society late last month.

The dog weighed in at a measly 53 pounds - about half of the 120 pounds it should have weighed. Each vertebrae in its spine was visible through its black fur.

“I’ve been here 13 years and I don’t recall one this extreme,” said OHS executive director Bruce Roney, of the emaciation.

“Frankly, we’re confused and dumbfounded as to how it got like this.”

Investigators allege Charlie was sold online on Kijiji on Jan. 20.

Only hours later, the buyer surrendered him to the OHS to get help.

Charlie would likely have not been properly fed for months, OHS officials believe. He has already gained 10 pounds while in their care.

The latest case has highlighted a disturbing trend of animal abuse.

The humane society launched 1,233 investigations from January to October 2013, a jump of nearly 20% over the same time last year. From 2012 to 2013, cases of animal abuse jumped from 63 to 183.

Prospective pet buyers are warned to not go online to find Fido, since it can be nearly impossible to know what you’re getting into.

People are encouraged to check out where the dogs are raised, and if the seller is hesitant, take that as a big red flag.

Still, a quick search on the Ottawa Kijiji site on Monday turned up pages of puppy sales, including nearly two dozen Great Dane ads, where dogs ranged from $175 to $600.

It’s not the first time starvation cases have surfaced at the OHS but officials say the sheer severity of this case has thrust it into a dubious spotlight.

“He was so underweight it really was touch-and-go about whether he was going to survive,” said Roney, who is optimistic about Charlie’s future. “The vet’s very positive about his outcome.”

It will likely take up to three months before Charlie may be ready for adoption.

Jason Woodruff has been charged with permitting an animal to be in distress and failing to provide adequate food, water and medical attention.

Woodruff is slated to appear in court on Feb. 27.


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