FORT MYERS - Investigators need your help finding the owner of a dog so neglected and abused that it had to be euthanized.
We're told a rope was tied around the dog's neck and it was slowly strangled over a period of several months.
We want to warn you the images in our report may be disturbing.
In the photo, the black Labrador Retreiver mix looks peaceful but the dog isn't sleeping, it's dead.
The dog was euthanized after investigators found a rope twisted tightly around its neck.
The rope was there for so long the dog's skin had grown back around it, imbedding the rope deep into the dog's flesh.
Rosa Ramos found the dog on Wednesday in her backyard.
She loves animals and says, "I don't know, my dog's my life. I love my dog, I love the dogs."
Ramos feeds stray cats in the area and says the food she leaves outside is what attracted the Lab to her house.
Ramos recalls, "It was very skinny, it had no food, no water. I called the shelter for the dog, you know. It's not good.”
After calling Lee County Domestic Animal Services, Ramos also noticed the rope around the dog’s neck and a pungent smell coming from the dog's wound.
Investigators responded and found the Lab nearby.
They used a control pole to put the dog in a crate. The dog was so fearful it wouldn't stop biting the pole.
One investigator reported, "I was able to view the spine, ribs and hip bones due to no palpable fat."
That news was upsetting to neighbors but none of them recognized the dog in our photos.
However, one tells us strays are common in this section of East Fort Myers.
A woman named Carmen tells us, "There's one that has three legs and he hops around on that side over there."
Rosa now hopes the Lab's owner is found and held accountable.
She says no person, or animal< should ever be treated like this.
We found the dog wasn't micro-chipped.
If investigators do find the owner there's not too much they can do under state law.
They can give the owner a civil citation for animal cruelty which also includes a mandatory court appearance and a $543.00 fine.