Tanzie is safe, thanks to a pair of siblings who saw something and did something.
Two Pitt County, North Carolina, kids — ages 14 and 10, according to WITN, who first reported the story — heard a dog’s cries on Sunday and found an emaciated pup tied to a tree in a wooded area, with no access to food or water, and decided to help her.
“I do give the kids credit because it is easy to turn a blind eye and not get involved,” says Pitt County Animal Shelter director Michele Whaley. “They said, ‘No, this is not right.'”
They brought the starving terrier/American pit bull mix, who weighed a dangerously low 28 lbs., to an adult, and more help wouldn’t be far behind. (A dog this size should weigh at least 50 lbs., the shelter says.)
The Pitt County Animal Shelter took the dog in but due to a lack of resources a rescue group called Friends of the Pitt County Animal Shelter has stepped up to care for her. Tanzie’s abuse is so severe that the case is being handled as a felony and it has been referred to the Pitt County Sheriff’s Office for further investigation.
Whaley is hopeful about the resilient girl’s recovery. “The one thing that spoke to me: Her eyes are so soulful,” Whaley tells PEOPLE, “she obviously had the will to live.”
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The pup, who is approximately 2-years-old and is “loaded with parasites,” is improving in her foster home and could take up to six months to be rehabilitated. In the meantime, authorities are working to find the person or persons responsible (a reward has been offered through Crimestoppers, click here to learn more).
“To be quite honest, I think [a reward is] what it’s going to take,” Whaley adds. “Somebody knows something. Animal abuse goes on all over our country, it’s a community problem.”
To help pay for Tanzie’s ongoing care, donate via the Friends of the Pitt County Animal Shelter website. To learn how to recognize the signs of animal neglect or cruelty, click here.