JOHNSTON, Ohio (WKBN) – A dog found chained to a large water tank is now being cared for by the Healthy Hearts and Paws Project. The dog’s owner is about to appear in court on a criminal charge.

“You would never know that his life for the last four or five years has been at the end of a chain,” said Jason Cooke, founder of the Healthy Hearts and Paws Project.

Now, Nova is looking for a forever family.

“I just don’t know why people choose to have an animal if they’re not going to give them a loving home,” Cooke said.

The white shepherd-mix dog was found covered in mud tied to a large water tank on Sunday at an address off Stoddard Hayes Road in Johnston.

“Fortunately for the animal, there was somebody from our community who reached out, called the sheriff’s office and felt that this animal was being abused,” said Trumbull County Sheriff Paul Monroe.

Deputies say the owner of the property told them the tenant moved out and left the dog outside.

“The person that owned the dog had left it there with no water, no shelter. It was very thin and frail,” Monroe said.

The Healthy Hearts and Paws Project took Nova in. Cooke says the dog tested positive for Lyme disease and has both hookworm and whipworm.

The organization is currently working to find Nova a home.

“All the dog wants is attention, all the dog wants is to be loved, go for walks. So it just breaks my heart,” Cooke said.

The dog’s owner, now identified as Jason Fox, is facing a misdemeanor prohibitions concerning companion animals charge.

Fox is scheduled to appear in Trumbull County Central District Court Wednesday morning.