Abandoned Maltese rescued from dumpster

Abandoned Maltese rescued from dumpster »Play Video
RICHLAND, Wash. -- It's a story that was unlikely to have a happy ending. A small dog was thrown out like a piece of trash, tossed into a south Richland dumpster. She was found by a maintenance worker clinging to life.

Delilah was found at the bottom of a dumpster like this one right here. It's amazing she that she was able to survive for almost 24 hours in the bottom of a dumpster with all of that trash and still be alive.

She wasn't just a forgotten dog. She wasn't just a stray. She has a name and once had a home.

Delilah is a four-year-old Maltese. She was found behind one of the strip malls on Bellerive and Gage across the street from Bonefish Grill.

"A dumpster is not a good place to put a dog," said Angela Zilar of the Tri-Cities Animal Shelter. "There is absolutely no way that the dog could have gotten out of there. If somebody didn't find her, when the garbage company came, which was yesterday or today, she would have been crushed in the compactor."

This is what Delilah looked like when she was found. Her hair was entirely in mats. Her nails were overgrown. The neglect had taken awhile.

"How long it takes to get the dreads like that. That's the same with these dogs; it takes time and that's just not an overnight thing," said Zilar.

Delilah had to be shaved completely. Animal control found the Maltese has a microchip. They tracked down her owner, only to learn the family had moved away a year ago and given Delilah to someone else.

"The person Delilah had been given to worked at the location where the dog was left in the dumpster," said Zilar.

That has turned this into a criminal case. Tri-Cities Animal Control has turned the case over to the prosecutor for animal cruelty. Delilah is recovering from her ordeal and could be up for adoption as soon as Friday.

"It means companionship to me, and it also means a friend and a companion to my dog," said Carolyn, who's looking to adopt.

The shelter hopes Delilah can get the forever home she deserves.

It's also possible the dog will be needed as evidence in the court case and may not be available tomorrow.