Chico, Calif.- "She likes to hold hands," said Nevada County dog-owner Cassidy Fisher. "She'll come and find us on the sofa and we just hold paws."
Arbor has an amazing life these days. But the 10-month-old Alaskan Malamute has a pretty scary back-story.
Arbor was one of 70 puppies - 97 total dogs - rescued from a home in Yankee Hill last January.
"I saw a video of all the puppies in one cage - they were dirty, really sick," Fisher said. "Luckily she was young enough when they pulled her out that they were able to bring her back to health."
Butte County Animal Control turned the dogs over to the Northwest SPCA in Oroville while they conducted an animal cruelty investigation.
So many dogs had been living confined in a small space. Many were sick with Giardia or Coccidia - diseases an animal gets from consuming feces.
Now, Arbor is recovering and full of life.
"The day we got her they told us she was gaining a pound a day," Fisher said. "We got her and she was eating fine. [She was] happy, healthy, a normal little puppy. I think she was just really wanting to be loved."
Of course, she still carries some scars from her past.
"She's really food-aggressive," Fisher said. "She'll go and bury her food. Not that she's aggressive with us, but she seems to be afraid that the food will go away."
The investigation outraged animal lovers and made news across the state. Pro-surfer Kelly Slater spread the word about the puppies' plight on social media.
Butte County Public Health says Slater played a huge role in raising money for their care and in getting them adopted.
Authorities collected what they needed to bring charges against the original owner, Crisitina Tosi, Butte County resident.
Tosi now faces six counts of animal cruelty, her trial date pending a psychological evaluation.
"This was such a sad thing," Fisher said. "I know a lot of dogs died, so I think there should be some sort of justice taken in that sense, but there's only so much you can do when someone's mentally ill."
Tosi failed to appear in court at the initial hearing, then last week when she was scheduled to be arraigned, her defense attorney asked for a 5-week evaluation period to determine her "mental and cognitive abilties."
The Butte County Deputy District Attorney says Tosi will appear back in court on Oct. 18.
If she's found unfit to stand trial, they'll get her the help she needs to become fit. That means she will be prosecuted, eventually.
Butte County Animal Control say this story may be shocking, but it's not that uncommon, so if you see or suspect something, report it!
- Puppies Recovering After Butte County Animal Abuse Rescue
- Butte County Animal Control shuts down Concow puppy mill
- Chico animal rescue concerns
- Companion animals for veterans in Butte County
- First ever 'Puppy Bowl' held at Chico Animal Shelter
- Butte County Public Health: Animal Disaster Feeding Ends Saturday
- National Puppy Day
- Butte County authorities see rise in flood-related rescues
- Butte County first responders rescue 2 from flood waters
- Butte Search & Rescue Launches Capital Campaign