A 55-year-old woman has been banned from owning animals after her pet Maltese dog was found abandoned with a coat so thickly matted that the dog struggled to walk and city rangers couldn’t identify her.
The dog was found wandering in the streets of Yanchep in Western Australia on January 12 and taken to an emergency vet, where she was found to be in a very poor condition.
She was emaciated and had huge mats and felting over her face, eyes, neck and limbs.
The claws in her right rear foot were embedded about 1.5cm, she also had another injury on the foot that couldn’t be assed due to the matting of her fur.
“This is an awful example of routine, ongoing neglect that has caused years of unnecessary suffering which could have easily been prevented,” RSPCA WA Deputy Chief Inspector Sharon Morgan said.
Once identified as Missy, the dog had to be sedated to clip her fur and trim her nails.
Two large bags of fur that had been collected from Missy were seized and she was taken to the RSPCA Animal Care centre for assessment.
Missy’s emaciated state was found to have been caused by lack of adequate nutrition for several weeks. Her coat would have taken several months to become so severely matted.
In addition to being emaciated, Missy had muscle atrophy of her hind right leg, mild dental disease requiring several teeth to be extracted and a cataract in her left eye.
“Our pets rely on us for all their basic needs. Missy’s all round poor condition, the irritating heavy matting and embedded claws could have all easily been avoided with an appropriate diet and regular grooming,” Ms Morgan said.
Missy’s owner told rangers that Missy’s leg had been crushed and she thought she had nerve damage. The specialist determined the injury to Missy’s right hind leg was a calcaneal tendon injury with deformity of the the ankle area.
“Had her injury been treated when it first occurred, Missy could have led a much happier life,” Ms Morgan said.
During the course of the investigation, the RSPCA Inspector discovered that as far back as 2013, Missy had been lame in her right hind leg.
She had also been taken to a vet on at least three occasions between 2013 and 2017, where vet records showed that Missy was not in good condition, her coat was extremely matted, and her nails were overgrown.
Missy’s owner was fined $5000 and ordered to pay legal costs of $267.50. She was also ordered to pay $600.41 to the RSPCA for the cost of caring for Missy.
She is also prohibited permanently from being in charge of any animal.
Missy is now with a foster carer where she is slowly gaining weight, being groomed daily and recovering.
“Seeking medical treatment is so important. If you find yourself in a position where you can’t afford vet treatment, please ask for help before it’s too late and your pet suffers,” Ms Morgan said.
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