KAIMUKI (HawaiiNewsNow) - When Jen Roberts's friend was walking her dogs Saturday, she saw something that shocked her.
"The first thing that she noticed was the dog had a string tied around his mouth, wrapped numerous times, and a knot securely tied," Roberts said.
Her friend took a photograph of the animal before she cut the string away. She said the dog looked weak and was walking aimlessly through traffic near the corner of Sierra Drive and Lurline Drive.
She took the dog home, then took it to the Hawaiian Humane Society.
"He was very thin. The hard part about is that I can't tell when a dog is thin because they haven't been getting proper nutrition, or when a dog is thin because of an illness that's making him thin," said the Humane Society's lead veterinarian Aleisha Swartz.
The dog is a 15-year-old male Maltese. The owner claimed him on Thursday. The Humane Society is investigating how the dog ended up at the intersection, why it's in such bad shape, and whether animal cruelty is involved.
"We have one of our officers working with the owner and also questioning people in the area to find out if there's any signs of neglect," field services manager Delvin Honda said.
Before the dog was claimed, Roberts and her friend posted the story on Facebook and were swamped with offers of help.
"'Can we donate money towards the care of this dog? If the owners don't come forward can we help you find him a home or can we offer him a home?' I even had people in Florida saying, 'If you can't find him a home, ship him to Florida. We will take care of him,'" she said.
The Humane Society will keep close tabs on the animal.
"We are very concerned about his condition and want to make sure that they are following the recommendation of their veterinarian," Swartz said.
Roberts said it's wrong to assume the owner mistreated his pet. The dog could have run away or been stolen. But one thing really disturbs her.
"The fact that the poor dog had his mouth tied shut is just completely inhumane," she said. "What monster would possibly do that to an elderly dog?"