The owners of a newly-purchased Maine home stumbled upon an abandoned and badly malnourished dog that was hidden in a closet, according to a report.
The dog, suspected to be a pit bull-mix puppy, required medical care and food as authorities are now searching for the pet’s owner who could face criminal charges, the Bangor Daily News reported.
“Once the humane society looks at him, we’ll have a better idea of whether he’s suffered any infections or serious injuries,” officer Douglas Bell told the newspaper.
“Once we’re able to interview the owner and know the dog’s condition, we’ll have a better idea of what we might charge them with.”
The dog was found inside the Caribou residence ahead of renovations to the property.
Caribou police said in a Facebook post Wednesday the dog had not been “properly cared for in quite some time.”
Authorities also made clear the past owners of the house were not suspected of leaving the dog behind.
“The dog was abandoned at the home while it was vacant, meaning after the previous owner left but before it was just purchased,” Caribou police said.
Bell told the Bangor Daily News that authorities are investigating if two people, who are homeless, might’ve owned the neglected dog.
“We suspect that they were squatting [in the home],” Bell said, adding the house was vacant for many months before the new owners bought it and began home improvements.