Nothing can set your neighbors against you as quickly as poor pet ownership behaviors. Failing to clean up after your pets or letting them make a ruckus at all hours are two of the biggest offenders.

When someone in an apartment in the Cleveland suburb of Euclid, Ohio, kept hearing the dogs in the upstairs unit barking and crying, it was no doubt annoying — but after weeks of the same behavior without any change, the person was compelled to call the Euclid Police Department.

And what officers found when they arrived at the indicated apartment unit on April 5 was heartbreaking.

The door to the unit was ajar, and they could immediately hear whining upon approaching it. In one room, they found two white dogs tied together, the leash securing them to the window.

The pit bull mixes had been left with no food or water, the floor was saturated with urine and covered in feces, and their tether was so short they couldn’t really even lie down.

It had been three weeks since the tenants had left, and no one had seen them return since then, meaning somehow the dogs managed to survive in the cruel conditions until their crying alerted the downstairs neighbor.

“We received a call from a concerned neighbor that heard these dogs barking and crying for a number of weeks,” Euclid Police Chief Scott Meyer said, according to WJW-TV in Cleveland.

“It appeared they were abandoned. The officers got the dogs water and contacted animal control.”

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The police report said the two dogs “were extremely malnourished, bones were visible and very skinny,” according to WEWS-TV.

Despite the horrors, the starving pair had endured, they were reportedly friendly, and police officers immediately gave them some water before they were removed and taken in by the Euclid Animal Shelter.

“They were malnourished and really dehydrated,” Euclid Animal Control Officer Ann Mills said. “Their eyes were sunken in. They were in pretty bad shape.”

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Since receiving medical care, food and affection, the dogs are doing much better. Mills said, though, that this harrowing incident is just one of many heartbreaking cases of people turning over or abandoning their pets in numbers higher than ever before.

“It’s really bad,” Mills said. “We have seen a big increase.”

“It is my understanding, what I read nationally, this is becoming a real problem,” Meyer added. “During COVID, people wanted these companion animals, and now that the eviction process has begun again for many people, they don’t know where to take these animals and they are not sure what to do.”

No arrests had been made as of Friday, but police Capt. Donna Holden said the dogs’ former owners could face criminal charges.

“There are charges that could come out of any case where dogs are not taken care of properly,” she said.

“You have a legal responsibility to take care of your pets,” Meyer added.

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Euclid Pet Pals has kept followers updated on the dogs’ progress.

“We wanted to give everyone a update, it has been circulating in the news about the two white emaciated dogs that we have in our care currently, the girl is named Aries and the boy is Bubbie,” it posted on Tuesday.

“Every day they are gaining strength, learning to trust, enjoying comfy beds, eating frequent small meals and being spoiled with much needed love.”

This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.