PHILADELPHIA (WTXF) - On Monday, a maintenance man was taking out the trash on the 5000 block of Frankford Avenue when something caught his eye. Something was moving from within the trash heap.
Spooked, the man ran back into his building and alerted other staff members. When they returned outside, they discovered Wildwood--a tiny, emaciated Shih Tzu pup wrapped in a plastic bag, stuffed into a black purse--dumped on a pile of garbage.
It was sheer luck that someone found her before trash collectors arrived.
Tiny Paws Rescue received the call for help.
"It's probably the worst case I've seen," said founder Kim Astringer. "After the vet shaved off her mats, she weighed only 4.2 pounds. She couldn't even stand up."
Wildwood is currently in the care of the Pennsylvania Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (PSPCA). The nonprofit's hospital team is nursing the pup back to health as humane law enforcement officers work to uncover what happened to her.
"When she arrived here, she was severely debilitated," said Lisa Germanis, PSPCA Medical Director. "She was emaciated, anemic. She was covered in urine scolding. She had wounds all over her bony protuberances, like bed sores."
Now, Wildwood is on the long road to recovery.
"We weren't sure whether she would make a recovery," said Nicole Wilson, PSPCA Director of Humane Law Enforcement. "But she is a fighter."
"She still has a lot going on medically," Wilson explained. "She's got this little head shake when she concentrates hard on stuff, and she is not using her back legs."
According to Wilson, Wildwood's emaciated condition and lack of veterinary care warrant aggravated animal cruelty charges, now a felony under Libre's Law
Anyone with information about this incident is urged to contact the PSPCA at 866-601-7722. Animal cruelty can also be reported by filling out the PSPCA's online form here.
Those interested in making a donation to support Wildwood's ongoing medical care can do here.
If you've found a stray animal in Philadelphia, click here for information on how to help.