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Volunteer rescues dog found locked in crate, left in St. Paul alley during frigid weather

The pup was skin and bones, and had been out there during frigid weather.
Rosabella, before being rescued.

Rosabella, before being rescued.

If it weren't for an observant volunteer, Rosabella almost certainly would have frozen to death.

The woman, who helps out at Ruff Start Rescue, was driving down an alley on the east side of St. Paul around 9 a.m. Dec. 7. when she spotted a small crate with a trash bag on top and an odd shape inside.

Rosabella.

Rosabella.

It was, to her horror, a dog. All white, curled up in the corner, obviously malnourished and apparently left outside in single-digit weather overnight, Azure Davis, executive director of Ruff Start Rescue, told Bring Me The News.

The volunteer immediately took the dog into her car to get it help, with Davis describing the abandoned animal as "skin and bones," weighing only about 19 pounds when she should be 45. There are also signs the dog, 1-3 years old, has been mistreated and locked in a kennel most of her life.

"After doing rescue for 12 years now, I've had to learn to give people the benefit of the doubt, assume they are trying to do the right thing or didn't have the resources, etc. Many times, this is the case," Davis wrote in a Facebook post. "However, this is a situation where I cannot and will not believe that. There is no excuse to justify this behavior. This is straight up animal abuse and it makes me sick."

Davis told Bring Me The News the incident was reported to Animal Control in St. Paul.

A spokesperson for the city said Animal Control is aware of the situation, though as of Monday morning there is not an open criminal investigation case with the St. Paul Police Department. Anyone with tips about the dog, its previous owner or any other relevant information is asked to call 651-266-1100.

A few days after being rescued.

A few days after being rescued.

Six days after the rescue, things are looking up for the dog, who has been named Rosabella.

By Dec. 10 she had gained 10 pounds. She's also being cared for by a foster, and recently was gifted a pink sweater. The goal eventually is adoption, but not until she is healthy and stable, Davis wrote.

"The dog who has endured hell and has been severely neglected by humans but based on her personality, you would never know!" Davis wrote on Facebook. "She is the sweetest and most appreciative little girl. Her sweet personality is really starting to shine through."

Rosabella in the car.

Rosabella in the car.

Ruff Start is a nonprofit animal rescue organization which provides veterinary care to stray, abandoned, neglected and surrendered pets while relying on a network of volunteers to provide foster homes for most of the rescued animals.

Ruff Start says it has helped more than 3,300 animals this year, and asked for donations to help support Rosabella and its mission.

"It's nothing short of a miracle that a Ruff Start foster happened to be driving through the alley and noticed her," Ruff Start wrote. "Now, Rosabella is in a safe, warm, and loving foster home. "

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