The young dog at the centre of one of the most disturbing cases of animal cruelty in B.C. history has been given a new lease on life thanks to the kind-hearted Mountie who helped rescue her.

Molly was found shivering and non-responsive on the patio of a Port Hardy home, with a gaping wound in her neck where a heavy collar had been deeply embedded.

The dog, weighing just a fraction of what she should, had no shelter on the deck and was forced to live in her own waste.

The BC SPCA's Tina Heary reported the dog was unable to walk because of extreme weakness and "her frail body was literally shutting down."

Cruelty investigators normally assess an animal's body score on a scale of one to nine: the 18-month-old Shepherd-cross was a zero, and not expected to live through the night.

The BC SPCA didn't go public with her story until it was certain she would survive emergency treatment.

The horrific abuse of Molly galvanized British Columbians, who donated critical funds to help rehabilitate the severely emaciated and traumatized dog.

More than 250 people posted on the BC SPCA's Facebook page calling for justice and swift prosecution, and nearly 60,000 people signed an online petition calling the pup’s owners to face the maximum penalty for animal cruelty under B.C. law.

Molly SPCA

But while the dog's owners, Rupert Wilson and Crystal Bee, were charged with animal cruelty in late 2013, the punishment for the Fort Rupert Reserve residents fell quite short of what the public – and the BC SPCA – hoped for.

The Crown asked for a jail sentence of six months for Wilson, but a judge instead handed him a three-month conditional sentence. He was also banned from owning animals for 10 years and ordered to complete 25 hours of community service.

Wilson faced a $10,000 fine, but was ordered to pay just $150 of the $607.10 vet bill occurred by the RCMP officer who seized Molly from his rural property.

The other $2,406 in vet bills paid for by the BC SPCA were ignored because the judge believed that Wilson, who has longstanding issues with drugs and alcohol and diminished intelligence, would not be able to pay them.

Despite the odds stacked against her, Molly started pulling through during her vet care with the BC SPCA. She slowly started gaining weight and started to walk again while she was in a foster home.

Molly's journey – and happy ending – came full circle with her adoption. She was given a forever home by the female RCMP officer who found her that cold winter day.

molly now

The Vancouver Island Mountie, who wants to remain anonymous because she still works in the community, says she has watched Molly grow from a hesitant dog into a strong and attention-seeking pup.

"She loves hanging out with kids, who give her 100 per cent of their attention," she said, adding that Molly is now living with a fur brother, Gus, and two "cat brothers," Pete and Moe.

"She loves playing with her fur and human friends, going on pack walks, swimming, watching squirrels and playing fetch when she wants to."

Molly's seizure, recovery and eventual adoption has another silver lining: increased cooperation between animal welfare officers and provincial police forces.

The BC SPCA credits the Mounties for their support in the case.

With only 26 constables across the province, the agency says it's almost impossible to make it to every complaint of suspected abuse, so having the help of law enforcement officials is invaluable in helping to end cruelty in the province. Molly’s rescue has also inspired a Port Hardy rescue group to take a more active role in helping animals in the community.

Molly was the recipient of the BC SPCA Animal Courage Award, for beating the odds and fully recovering from her neglect.

“She is a true survivor,” said Tina Heary of the BC SPCA.