A Rottweiler named Coco Puff is receiving some much needed TLC after being discovered abandoned in cruel conditions in a New Jersey backyard.
Ross Licitra, executive director of the Monmouth County SPCA — which is currently caring for Coco Puff — told HuffPost over the phone that the 3-year-old dog was found sleeping on a concrete slab and was attached to a railing with a very short chain leash.
She had no food or water, and was presumably freezing.
“She was exposed to literally the absolute coldest, coldest day of the year,” Licitra emphasized to HuffPost. “It was brutal.”
Licitra says Coco Puff’s owners left her on Dec. 24, which was one of the coldest Christmas Eves in the state’s history. She sat there for three days before someone called the Neptune Township Police and she was rescued.
“[Her owners] would’ve been better off if they just let Coco run, which of course we never want to say,” Licitra said. “But at least Coco would have been able to find shelter or run up to somebody because she is an incredibly lovely, beautiful dog that is so friendly.”
Licitra told HuffPost that after speaking to the dog’s owners — Iquan Carson and Shonquel Lindsey — and their landlord, he learned the couple had to leave their home on Christmas Eve because their pipes froze over, and stayed in a nearby hotel. He noted that although the couple stayed nearby, they never once left to check in on their pet.
“They made absolutely no effort whatsoever to find any type of shelter or any type of nutrition or anything for Coco,” Licitra said. “They just basically chained her to the railing and walked away. That’s all they did.”
He said Coco Puff was “scared” and “confused” when she finally came into their care, but they determined after medical examinations that she didn’t suffer from hypothermia. Bloodwork showed she may have kidney stones, as well as a genetic eye condition that affects her vision, according to a Monmouth County SPCA Facebook post. Licitra noted that they initially thought Coco Puff was a 10-year-old dog, but discovered after examining her teeth that she was actually much younger.
Coco Puff, who is described by the rescue as “gentle, loyal, and loving,” will continue to receive care at Monmouth County SPCA, but will eventually be available for adoption.
Licitra told HuffPost that her owners, Carson and Lindsey, have both been charged with two counts of animal cruelty — one for cruel restraint, and another for failure to provide necessary care.