CHARLOTTE, NC (Mark Price/The Charlotte Observer) - A dog was saved from a horrific death Monday, after being found stuck in the bottom of a Charlotte-area septic tank, clinging to a pipe to stay afloat.
The animal was chest deep in raw sewage and entangled in heavy black wires when Charlotte-Mecklenburg Animal Care & Control responded to the call at 11950 Howell Center Drive. That's just east of Charlotte, off Interstate 485, near Midland.
Employees from a nearby business said it may have been stuck in the tank for as long as two days, reported Animal Care & Control.
Witnesses at the site told officers the dog had fallen through the top of the septic tank, and was struggling to stay afloat in at least four feet of sewage. Some good Samaritans were able to get a rope around the dog, to help keep it afloat, officials said.
Officer Jaclyn Zapf of Animal Care & Control said she arrived to find the dog stuck 12 feet down, "shaking and crying" as it struggled to stay above the sewage. Wires were twisted around her stomach and hind legs, Zapf said.
"Employees kept hearing barking, but couldn't tell where it was coming from until one of them noticed that the top of the septic was broken and looked inside," said Melissa Knicely, spokesperson for Charlotte-Mecklenburg Animal Care & Control.
A rescue could not be attempted until electricity was shut off to the pump, so the Midland Fire Department secured site, turned off the pump, and used a pole to remove wires from around the dog, officials said. Once it was untangled, a firefighter and officer Zapf were able to pull the dog out, officials said.
"The canine fell into Officer Zapf's arms," said Knicely. "(It) was very sore. Bruises were seen on her belly from the wires."
The dog, named Honey, was taken to the Animal Care & Control shelter in Charlotte for decontamination and treatment with antibiotics.
"I just spoke to our veterinarian and the dog is doing very well, no injuries," said Knicely in a statement. "She is very sweet, a bit on the shy side."
Honey is a brown pit bull mix, about 1 to 2 years old. She remains in a mandatory stray hold.