Shelter says starved Great Dane ate own foot to survive; couple charged

A Great Dane is on the long road to recovery after an animal shelter in South Carolina says he ate one of his own feet to survive.

Jessica James, 32, and Skylar Craft, 38, were charged with ill treatment of animals in connection with the case. A Ware Shoals police report says officers were told last month about a "very skinny" Great Dane missing over half his back right leg.

The two were released, each on a $5,000 personal recognizance bond, according to court records.

The 6-year-old dog, named Luke, was found on Nov. 26, chained up and starving, according to Noah's Arks Rescue. He was reported by a passerby who saw him tied up to a metal pole with no food or water in sight.

Police say the owners couldn't tell officers how long the dog had been tied up or how long it had been injured. Two other dogs were found at the residence who were reportedly "fine," per the shelter, which took in Luke.

When Luke was rescued, the shelter said he weighed only 70 pounds when he should weigh close to 140. Now, he's on the long road to recovery.

The dog has reportedly suffered from "intestinal issues," according to the shelter, adding that the Great Dane's heart is another "major issue."

"Even though he is Heartworm Positive, the heart issues he has are because he was starved. His electrolytes have been out of balance, and his heart and lungs have been compromised because of this," the shelter wrote in a Nov. 28 post. The dog also has an infection in his right leg from where he chewed off his foot.

"Poor Luke has got to be one of the saddest cases we have had in a long time. All of the pups we save are sad and desperate but his reaches down into your soul," the shelter said.

Following a series of other complications -- including a respiratory infection that "came back with a vengeance" that postponed Luke's leg removal surgery -- the dog remains critical but "has the will to live," the shelter said.

"He is an amazing dog with an incredible Will to Live. To sustain and maintain a body his size takes Courage, Strength, and Humility," Noah's Arks Rescue wrote.

Those interested in donating to Luke's care can do so here.

The Associated Press and Fox News contributed to this report.