Police who found a frightened dog tied to a bench at 3 a.m. used a microchip to find its owner, a 19-year-old woman who police say was passed out and apparently drunk in a nearby apartment.

Charleston police were patrolling George Street when the saw the dog tied to a bench, howling, with its tail between its legs, and growling at anyone that came near, an incident report said.

There was no food or water near the dog, and College of Charleston Public Safety officers told police they saw the dog tied to the bench for at least an hour, the report said.

Police said they waited with the dog for about 30 minutes to see if its owner would return.

Then, they took the dog to an emergency veterinary clinic in North Charleston, the report said.

A veterinarian scanned the dog’s microchip and determined its owner lived in an apartment on Coming Street, the report said.

Police arrived at the apartment and found several people passed out in the living room, including 19-year-old Rachel Keller of Vanderhorst Street, the report said.

Police say it took about 20 minutes to wake Keller, who smelled strongly of alcohol.

Police questioned Keller about the dog, and the woman responded that she shared the animal with her best friend, who had gone out of town and left the dog in her care.

According to police, Keller did not know the dog was missing, and believed it was inside the home.

Keller was arrested and charged with cruelty to animals, according to records at the Charleston County jail, where she was held.

Reach Christina Elmore at 937-5908 or at Twitter.com/celmorePC.