A 1-year-old dog officials think was thrown away in a plastic bag has been rescued from a commercial Dumpster on Long Island.
The Suffolk County SPCA says a man collecting empty cans and bottles discovered the small pooch in the trash at a gas station early Tuesday. Officials think the dog, a dachshund mix, chewed its way out of the bag.
"I just happened to look to the side and there was a face looking at me," Kevin Zabawski told NBC 4 New York. "There was this dog in there, and I thought 'Who the heck would leave an animal like that in the Dumpster?' It's way too much for me."
The female pup was wearing a pink leash and a pink collar. The dog was taken to a 24-hour animal hospital, where SPCA officers named her Noelle because she was discovered on Christmas Eve.
Officials say the animal had severely matted and dirty fur but was otherwise in good health. A spokesman for the SPCA said Noelle is a little shy and fearful but is getting better at the Islip Town Shelter and is expected to be offered for adoption at some point.
A gas station surveillance video taken nearly 24 hours before the dog was found shows a person carrying a plastic bag that appears to contain a box and placing it in the Dumpster. A $2,000 reward is being offered for information leading to an arrest.
For Zabawski, as long as "the dog is alive and well, it's a good Christmas."