IT will be cold comfort for those trying to save the life of a starved and maimed husky, but those accused of mistreating her have been charged.
However, the shocking cruelty and neglect that brought a seasoned animal welfare advocate to tears could have ended 12 months ago.
The Friends of RSPCA Gladstone were handed huskies Lady and Misty on Tuesday night after the dogs were found starving on a Gladstone veranda.
The older dog, Lady, had had her ears illegally cropped and was severely under-weight.
On Thursday she took a turn for the worse - collapsing and teetering on the brink of death. The 16-year-old pooch will be kept on a drip to regain her strength.
An inspector attended the home of the dogs about 12 months ago.
"We did have a complaint in 2013," RSPCA spokesman Michael Beaty said.
"An inspector visited the property and issued a welfare direction for dewormer. They (the dogs) weren't as bad then, no-where near the condition they were recently found in."
He said a new complaint had been received three days ago.
Gladstone resident Toni Anderson said she contacted authorities last year.
"My question is - if we rang this in 12 months ago, why did it take so long?" she said on Facebook.
"We asked to be kept informed, but were told we couldn't because of privacy laws. I feel terrible because I could've rung more than once to make sure someone was coming to get these poor dogs."
Friends of the RSPCA Gladstone president Judy Whicker said if there was an inspector based in Gladstone the outcome could have been different.
"It would be wonderful if we could have an RSPCA inspector based in Gladstone, however we understand the costs associated with this as it is a not-for-profit organisation," she said.
One RSPCA inspector covers the Rockhampton to Gladstone region.
Police have charged two men, 17 and 40, and a woman, 33, with breach of duty of care, cruelty to an animal and failing to exercise a dog closely confined.
Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.