SORRENTO, La. (BRPROUD/NEXSTAR) — A dog owner who pleaded guilty last week in an animal cruelty case is getting their dog back.

On October 26, 2019, Opie was brought to Cara’s House, an animal shelter, when animal control received an anonymous tip of Opie’s living conditions.

When Opie arrived at Cara’s House he was described as being “skin and bones and horribly mistreated.”

Almost a year under Cara’s House care, Opie was nursed back to good health, gaining ten pounds and is now parasite free.

“He was emaciated, full of fleas, his skin was an awful condition. He was actually only weighed 41 pounds,” said Cara’s House president Reagen Daniel.

The 6-year-old dog suffers from heartworms.

“We never dreamed that he would be allowed to go back to the owner who let him get in that condition,” said Daniel. “He is used to sleeping on a couch and now he is possibly going back to living on a chain outside.”

Ellen Hawkins of Geismar, La. was initially charged with animal cruelty, however, Hawkins pleaded guilty to ‘owners responsibility’ in order to receive Opie back.

“This is the first time we had to return a dog to someone who was charged with animal cruelty,” said Daniel.

Cara’s House says bulldogs like Opie are special needs dogs. Opie requires monthly heartworm prevention, allergy medication, and care for his skin.

“We just feel like justice wasn’t served here,” said Daniel, “We want the best for these cats and dogs and when they come in from poor conditions the last thing we would ever think is they would be allowed to go back to those conditions.”

Hawkins refused to speak with reporters on the incident.