Woman Discovers Abandoned Puppy Inside Plastic Bag on Side of Road

Officials say the puppy appeared to be in good shape after being in the bag for 15 minutes, but they are still looking to pursue felony torture charges.

A plastic bag thrown to the side of a Kentucky backroad may have otherwise gone unnoticed if not for the woman who stopped to rescue an abandoned puppy that was inside.

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Malissa Lewis of Harlan County told InsideEdition.com she was driving to the elementary school she works at when suddenly, she saw a plastic bag moving on the side of the road.

"I was scared. It was hard to process," she said. "I was afraid something would attack me," she said.

Unsure of what to expect, Lewis then started recording and approached the bag.

But when she slowly ripped open a hole in the bag that was tied shut, Lewis was horrified to find a black Labrador puppy inside, wagging his tail.

"I can't imagine any reason for anyone to do something like that," Lewis said.

She said the pup appeared to be healthy and especially happy when Lewis showed up to rescue it. She was apparently well-groomed and wearing a collar.

According to Animal Control Officer Duncan Caldwell from the Harlan County Sheriff's Department, the dog appeared to have only been in the bag for 15 or 20 minutes since he appeared to be in good shape, despite being "tied up and [nearly] suffocated."

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Knowing she couldn't leave the poor pup on the street, Lewis said she put her on her lap and drove straight to work, where the she said the second grade class took care of her for part of the day.

Her husband later took the pup to the veterinarian, who determined the 8-week-old dog was healthy.

The dog, later named Hefty, has since been living with Lewis and her family. She says her son has always wanted a big dog, but the canine's past life was clearly not filled with as much love.

"The dog was healthy. She was fine, she was perfect," Officer Caldwell told InsideEdition.com. "But the issue with why they would do that is still unknown."

When Lewis contacted the sheriff's department, Caldwell said he advised her to keep the abandoned pup, and not relinquish her to anyone else's care until the investigation is complete.

"If we do find who's done it, they will be charged with a felony first-degree torture," Caldwell said.

He said the department has since determined the puppy belonged to a girl, whose identity has not been released. She claimed the puppy disappeared.

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"We've got all kinds of not-so-bright people that have no respect for anything, let alone the lives of animals," he told InsideEdition.com. "A heinous crime is what it is."

Caldwell said there have been many cases in the county of people leaving puppies in boxes in the side of the road, and even a case about a man who threw a dog off a bridge, "not once, but twice."

He recommends that if anyone needs to give up an animal, they should surrender it to a local animal shelter.

Watch: Animal Rescue Group Blasts 'POS' Who Abandoned Puppy That 'Cried for Days'