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Dog abandoned outside shelter in 7-degree cold

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SALEM, MA (WCVB/CNN) – A small dog is warming up after a couple abandoned her in freezing weather outside a Massachusetts animal shelter more than an hour before the location opened.

A security camera at Northeast Animal Shelter shows a couple with a Pekingese or Chihuahua mix pull up Tuesday morning at 8:30 ET and try the door.

The door was locked because the shelter doesn’t officially open until 10:00 a.m., but several people were inside, director Laurie McCannon says.

"They needed to do something right then and there. Find another door, a window to bang on. Just find a person that's walking around,” McCannon said.

Instead, the couple tied the dog to a bench outside the shelter and left.

The pup stood outside in single digits for nearly an hour before she was found.

"She was good. She was nervous. She couldn't figure out why she was out there,” McCannon said.

With only a thin coat of hair, the dog was incredibly vulnerable, especially from frostbite.

"Obviously, we worry about frostbite on her feet. She's just standing on the ground and can't get away from it. She doesn't have mittens,” McCannon said.

Once found, the dog, later named Icelyn, was given warm food and blankets by shelter staff.

Officials believe the dog is relatively healthy. They posted her story to Facebook but say they aren’t trying to vilify the couple who abandoned Icelyn.

"I don't think she was unloved in any way but poor decisions,” McCannon said. "You try to do the right thing by bringing a pet here – just come in and talk to us about it."

However, animal control is actively searching for the couple and say charges could be forthcoming.

The shelter says it will work to find Icelyn a new home “with someone who will love her forever.” She should be available for adoption in about a week.

Copyright 2018 WCVB, Northeast Animal Shelter via CNN. All rights reserved.