A Merritt, B.C., man is facing animal cruelty and criminal charges after allegedly dragging his golden Lab behind his truck for exercise.

Bobby Elliot was charged with animal cruelty on July 30 after a joint investigation by the B.C. SPCA and local RCMP.

Sean Eccles, the SPCA's chief animal protection officer in B.C., says the dog, April Rain, was tied behind her owner's truck as he drove, leaving her with serious injuries.

Judanna Caros of Angel's Animal Rescue Society said she found the dog "half dead" when she arrived at the man's home after being contacted by witnesses.

"They were horrified. They were worried the dog was going to die," Caros told ctvbc.ca from her Merritt rescue agency.

Caros said she found April Rain restrained by two separate chains in a carport.

After unsuccessfully trying to contact the owner, she rushed the dog to a veterinarian, fearing she wouldn't live much longer without treatment.

"She had lacerations right down to the bone, her toenails and pads were worn off. She had a deep cut on her face. Her lips and gums were rubbed raw," Caros said.

After three hours of cleaning and treating the dog, the vet told Caros the dog's legs would likely have to be amputated and it would take a year for her to recover.

But nearly two months later, Caros says April Rain is almost 100-per-cent recovered from her injuries.

"We are amazed at her progress. She's a fighter," she said.

Angel's Animal Rescue is accepting donations to help with her vet care. The dog will be going up for adoption shortly and Caros is currently interviewing potential owners for a permanent placement in September.

Elliot faces a fine of up to $10,000 and six months of jail time if found guilty. He could also be banned from owning animals in the future.

"This is an extremely disturbing case and we are grateful to Crown counsel for moving forward with charges so quickly," said Eccles.

Caro says at least one dog still lives at Elliot's home. She hopes the charges will go through to send a strong message to others.

If you are interested in adopting April Rain, or any of Angel's Animal Rescue's 30 other dogs, contact the society at 250-378-5223.