RESTON, Va. - Fairfax County police are investigating an animal cruelty case after a severely neglected dog was found in Reston.
Police say the malnourished dog, who is around 7 or 8 years old, was found in the area of Chatham Colony Court and Moorings Drive last week with two pounds of matted hair covering its face and body.
The dog, believed to be a Shih Tzu, had a bad skin infection and an eye infection in one eye that will likely cause blindness. She is also deaf.
"It's severe," said Enna Lugo, a Fairfax County Animal Protection Officer. "If you were to rank it, it would rank up there."
Lugo said the dog is not believed to be a stray because she had no ticks or fleas and there was no indication the animal was living outside. Investigators believe the dog either got out or was abandoned and they are now searching for her owner.
"I can't say if it was somebody who was being neglectful or somebody who actually needs some help themselves," Lugo said. "Maybe an elderly person that couldn't take care of a dog."
After just a few days of care, the dog has made an incredible transformation. Her foster caretaker is calling her "Bitty," and said she is sleeping a lot and seems to be in good spirits. Medication is helping treat her infected eye and skin.
As she continues to heal, police want to find her former owner and find out why this poor pooch was in such bad shape.
On Monday, animal protection officers canvassed the area where the dog was found.
Anyone with information about the dog or her owner is asked to call the Animal Services Division at 703-691-2131. Anonymous tips can be submitted through Crime Solvers at http://www.fairfaxcrimesolvers.org or by calling 1-866-411-TIPS.