TAMPA — Left alone in the overgrown back yard without food or water for weeks, Ne Ne became emaciated, anemic and lost almost all of her hair.
A skin infection ravaged her flesh. Painful welts on her head and body made her recoil when touched.
It was one of the worst cases of animal neglect Pam Perry has ever seen.
"It was like something from a horror movie," said Perry, an investigator with Hillsborough County Animal Services. "She was bleeding all over."
Nearly a week after Ne Ne was removed from a Riverview home, deputies Sunday arrested Alix Andrew Dontfraid, 29, and Talisa A. Williams, 33, after a concerned person called Animal Services to report the dog's condition.
The two have been charged with felony animal cruelty, which Perry said means the abuse was intentional and malicious. Both Williams and Dontfraid bonded out Sunday after paying $2,000 bail each.
The dog, a 6- to 8-month-old pit bull pup, was given immediate medical treatment for skin infections and bowls of food, at which she lunged, ravenously, said Animal Services spokeswoman Marti Ryan.
She's gained more than six pounds in less than a week. County veterinarians said it's likely Ne Ne will make a full recovery with months of proper care.
"It makes me angry because there's no reason for this," Perry said. "She should have never gotten to that point to begin with."
It was not immediately clear why Williams and Dontfraid left the dog without food or water, but Perry said officials believe the two had been watching a dog for another man who was in jail.
Veterinary records show Ne Ne was taken for a checkup in July, but she had not been back for her follow-up appointments. Ryan said it's possible she had not been fed since then.
Although her skin condition required treatment, including being bathed with medicated shampoo, Perry said the care was inexpensive and "something any reasonable or caring person could have taken care of."
"When you look through those sliding glass windows and see this staring back at you, how can you not do something?" Perry asked.
Because Ne Ne's is a special-needs case, all families wishing to adopt her will be subject to home inspections and interviews.
Ne Ne is staying with a foster family until she is ready for adoption. Animal Services is accepting donations for Ne Ne's care. Ryan said she needs canned food, blankets, towels, medical services and monetary donations.
Dontfraid and Williams could receive up to five years in prison each on the animal cruelty charges, Perry said. Williams has a history of theft and drug offenses.
Animal Services officials said anonymous tips are essential to finding and putting a stop to severe cases like Ne Ne's.
To anonymously report animal neglect and abuse, call Hillsborough County Animal Services at (813) 744-5660 or leave a message after normal business hours on the Animal Abuse Reporting Hotline at (813) 744-5550.