(CBS) — Neighbors discovered a severely beaten puppy in Northwest Indiana after he crawled into their backyard last Christmas.

WBBM’s Michele Fiore reports.

Sherri Christopher of “Guardians of the Green Mile” said something in the little pup, now named Chance, made him fight for his life. He had nothing to eat or drink in four days.

“He was severely emaciated. You could count every vertebrae. You could see his ribcage, his hipbones, his shoulder bones were literally popping,” Christopher said.

A family talked outdoors on Christmas when Chance crawled into their yard, dragging his back end with two broken hips. The group took the puppy to an emergency vet who considered the most humane move might be to put him down.

Before the family could make up their minds, Chance started moving his tail.

“This baby wagged his tail with everything he had left in him to make sure everybody knew ‘don’t give up on me,’” Christopher said.

The puppy’s former owner, Richard Cope, is accused of using electrical tape to tightly seal Chance’s muzzle shut. Cope is supposed to be sentenced next month.

Christopher is now pressing Indiana to allow victim impact statements on behalf of dogs.