2 abandoned Boxers recovering after owners nearly starved them to death

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DENVER -- Owners abandon their dogs often at the Denver Animal Shelter.

But the condition of two Boxers made seasoned animal experts shake their heads.

Both animals so emaciated and dehydrated—one was hours away from being put down.

The first one is named Rib-eye—but not because he likes steak.

No, the abandoned animal hasn’t eaten much of anything in months. His nickname comes from his protruding ribs and an infection in his eye.

His owner dropped him off late Saturday at the Denver Animal Shelter.

He was found wandering inside an enclosed, climate-controlled area—just outside animal drop boxes that people use to relinquish their pets.

But the 2-year-old didn’t stay there long. Staff immediately took him to Alameda East Veterinary Hospital because his health was horrific.

Two days later, in a Denver backyard, Ribeye doesn’t have much interest in playing.

"He really is still in kind of survival mode," says Jack Creamer, who is fostering Rib-eye.

The animal was nearly starved to death.

You can count every single rib, every bump of his spine and his pelvic bone.

He also has an eye infection.

And cuts all over his front legs.

"The shape he is in did not happen overnight. It's something going on for quite some time, 6-7 months," says Andrea Jordan with HO-BO Care Boxer Rescue.

The rescue organization took the dog in on Tuesday.

"The first time I tried to feed him he tried to eat the metal bowl," she says.

He's recovering now at the Creamer’s home.

"He is super sweet,” says Creamer, as Rib-eye licks the entire right side of his face.

This boxer is more interested in kisses than any fight--despite everything he's been through.

"I don't know if all dogs would be that forgiving if something like that happened," he says.

And it makes Creamer angry.

"If you can look at an animal like that and not have any empathy or emotion about it I think you have a problem," he says.

His owner abandoned him at the Denver Animal Shelter Saturday.

It's where another extremely emaciated boxer--this one a stray--also waits for Ho-Bo Boxer Rescue.

Animal Control picked him up running around a Denver neighborhood. He has no identification on him.

"You can't see any body fat, you can see the bones from rib cage to the pelvic bone and they are really protruding," says Lorraine Pacheco.

Yet, his fragile condition hasn't taken a toll on his tail.

"He's actually a pretty happy dog considering everything he’s been through," says Pacheco.

Both dogs should be man's best friend, but man treated them like enemies.

And the Denver Animal Shelter says it's not only wrong, but criminal.

"Because we don't have an owner we can't pursue a cruelty case,” says Pacheco. "It really hurts to see animals in this condition."

Dr. Katie Powers with Alameda East says Ribeye was one of the worst cases she's ever seen.

He weighs just 40 pounds but should weigh at least 65.

Both boxers will be nursed back to health by HO-BO Care Boxer Rescue. You can contact them at: 303-744-8329 or at www.hobocare.com.