VANCOUVER - An advocacy group says an animal cruelty charge has been laid against a British Columbia man after a dog nearly died of a serious flea infestation.

The SPCA says in a release that an older terrier named Rascal was rushed to an animal hospital on Vancouver Island earlier this year after losing about 85 per cent of his blood to fleas.

Animal protection officer Tina Heary says the dog was “literally dying from fleas” when he came into the group's care.

Heary says people know fleas can cause itchy skin and irritation, but don't always realize the insects feast on blood.

The SPCA says Rascal recovered after receiving life-saving blood transfusions and is now thriving in a new home.

It says Gary Bob of Lantzville has been charged with one count of animal cruelty under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act.