A severely starved dog chewed off his own foot to survive, a South Carolina animal shelter says.
Luke, a 6-year-old Great Dane, is in critical condition and cannot receive surgery until his health improves, Noah’s Arks Rescue, the Ridgeland-based shelter that is currently caring for the dog, told HuffPost.
The dog’s owners, Jessica James, 32, and Skyler Craft, 28, were charged with ill treatment of animals on Nov. 20, Greenwood, South Carolina’s Index-Journal, reports.
According to the newspaper, the Ware Shoals Police Department received a tip from a neighbor that said that a “very skinny” Great Dane had chewed off its own leg after getting stuck in a runner cable.
Officers who went to investigate say the dog was tied to a metal pole and there was no food or water bowl nearby, per The Associated Press.
“When I approached the fence I could see a very skinny black Great Dane with an injury to his back right leg,” the officer wrote in her report, per the Journal. “As he got closer I could see that over half of his leg was gone.”
When police approached the house to question the owners, James reportedly told officers that the dog — formerly named Lucifer — was placed on the runner after trying to jump over a fence. Neither James nor Craft could agree on how long the dog had been put on the runner. They also said they tried to treat the injury themselves and could not afford to take the dog to the vet.
On Nov. 21, Noah’s Arks Rescue responded to the police’s request for help and took the dog to an ER facility in Charleston.
Jennifer Smith, president of the rescue, told HuffPost that Luke was starved and unable to walk when he first came into their care. His leg was also badly infected.
“Luke was very scared and unsure of people at the time,” Smith said. “After several days in ICU, we brought him to our rehab facility so he could relax, which made a big difference in his personality. He soon realized we were not going to hurt him.”
Smith says Luke went back to the ICU several days later and has “been wonderful ever since.”
He is currently awaiting surgery to debride his wound, but cannot undergo the procedure until his health improves.
“He has to get stronger before we can remove his leg,” she said.
Smith also said that her rescue was told that the cable was wrapped around Luke’s leg and there’s a possibility that he chewed it off to free himself.
For the time being, Luke is getting a whole lot of love, “being treated by the best medical team in the country,” and “nothing is being spared for him,” according to Smith.
“Luke is a gentle giant that wants nothing but a chance to be a dog that is loved,” she said.
This article originally appeared on HuffPost.