PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) - The Portsmouth dog found tethered and near death in a backyard is expected to make a full recovery.
Workers at the Portsmouth Humane Society affectionately named the labrador/pit bull mix "Hope." Animal control found the dog while answering another call on Virginia Avenue in the Port Norfolk section of the city.
Hope arrived to the shelter covered in sores from flies eating her alive.
"They were on her ears, on her tail, on her face and on her backside," said Jill Petrosillo, a volunteer manager at the shelter.
Petrosillo says it was the worst case of animal cruelty the Portsmouth Humane Society has seen. The dog was found motionless. And, for a time, it was presumed dead.
"It really just looked like a dead body," said Petrosillo. "And Hope lifted her eyes up a little bit and [animal control] said, 'We have to get this dog to the vet as soon as possible.'"
The dog's owner, Louis Holloway Jr, 38, has been charged with animal cruelty.
Neighbors say Holloway lived at the home where Hope was found. It appears several dogs were also living there. Several crates, chains and extensive fencing in the backyard is visible from the street.
"I think I've seen about four or five baby [pit bulls] and two or three big dogs," neighbor Johnnie Roberts said. "That's about seven dogs I've seen over there."
Roberts says Holloway was selling pit bulls and had others as pets. He says he never suspected any animal abuse.
"I saw [Holloway] a couple of times, come outside," said Roberts. "He would give the dogs a bath and feed them a couple times."
Roberts remembers seeing Hope at a healthy weight not too long ago.
"The one they just took away - about three months ago - [Hope] had me where I couldn't get out my front door," said Roberts. "She was in good shape then."
WAVY.com tried to speak to Holloway but no one answered the door at home where Hope was found or at the Chesapeake address police gave for Holloway.
The Portsmouth Humane Society is holding a special adoption event this weekend for those interested in making Hope part of their family. Serious adopters should fill out an application. Hope's new owner will be hand selected.
The adoption kick off is Saturday from 12 p.m.- 5 p.m. and Sunday from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. at the Portsmouth Humane Society.
This story comes as the Portsmouth City Council considers a citywide tethering ban. The possible change will be discussed at the next council meeting.
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