Now that she is fully recovered and living in a loving home in Langley it’s hard to imagine that Willow, a Siberian husky, was found near death last year.
Emaciated and eating rocks in an effort to survive, the dog was found in a rural neighbourhood in Maple Ridge in January 2015.
Yu Lin, the dog’s original owner, has been charged with two counts of animal cruelty, the BC SPCA announced on Monday.
Lorie Chortyk, spokesperson for the agency, said Willow weighed 15 kg upon intake. That’s compared to a normal weight of about 24 kg for a dog of her age and breed.
“She was assessed with a score of ‘one’ on the canine body conditioning scale of one to nine, meaning that she was severely malnourished,” said Chortyk.
“When she first came in she was unable to lie down due to abdominal pain caused by rocks and soil in her gastrointestinal tract,” said Chortyk.
“There were no food remnants in her stomach so it’s likely that she had been eating gravel to try to stay alive. She also had trouble walking because her muscles were so weak.”
The BC SPCA’s cruelty investigations department identified Willow’s former owner — a university student in his 20s — shortly after the investigation began.
The SPCA submitted recommendations for charges to Crown counsel in February 2015. If convicted, Lin faces up to two years in jail, a maximum fine of $75,000 and a possible lifetime ban from owning animals.
Willow was nursed back to health in an SPCA foster home over the course of several months. She was adopted last March by Langley’s Dawn and Mark Whittacker, who are familiar with the proper method of caring for the breed.
Willow is reported to have adjusted well to her new home, enjoying car rides, long walks and swimming.
Lin next appears in Port Coquitlam Provincial Court on March 3.