Four pets were found in an appalling condition after allegedly being left alone inside a Hoon Hay home for four days without food or water.
The state of the two dogs and cats in the Rowley Ave home was reported to the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals last Sunday.
Two calls raising concern over the plight of the animals were received, one from a member of the public and another from city council animal control.
SPCA Canterbury manager Geoff Sutton said the owner, who was away in Kaiapoi, was then contacted and given the opportunity to return to remedy the situation.
But she told the SPCA she could not make it back, Mr Sutton said.
``She said she didn't have transport,'' he said.
As a result the SPCA executed a search warrant for the property the next day.
``They were very, very thin and obviously ravenous.
``One [dog] in particular was extremely thin.''
However, Mr Sutton said the animals would have already been in ``light'' condition prior to the incident.
``They hadn't been fed well before that. The poor condition wasn't caused just over that period.'' Mr Sutton said.
The animals were seized.
He said an interview was scheduled last Wednesday to give the woman a chance to explain the situation but she failed to appear. Another appointment is to be arranged this week.
``We want to make sure she's given an opportunity to explain. She might come back with a valid explanation.''
Mr Sutton said the investigation was on-going and charges were being considered.