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Severely Matted Dog Was Infested With Maggots

A Riverside County Animal Services officer impounded a severely neglected dog that was so matted it was infested with maggots.

In fact, the dog’s condition was so bad, the owner initially contacted Animal Services to retrieve his dog from his Riverside home because it was dead.

But the dog was alive – and severely neglected. Officer John Hergenreder brought the dog to the Western Riverside County/City Animal Shelter on Monday afternoon and his veterinary colleagues immediately examined and treated the dog, an 8-year-old, female Lhasa Apso.

It took more than an hour to clip away most of the matted coat. Some sections of the matted coat were several inches thick. Registered Veterinary Technician Gricel Llamas and a colleague, Andrea Franco, an animal care technician, worked with clippers and veterinary scissors to snip away the matted coat. The dog was given a pain medication to provide her some level of comfort. As they worked on the dog, maggots were visible in the animal’s rear area.

“This is where the dog’s skin was moist and enflamed – and the infection of her skin provided an environment in which maggots thrive,” said staff veterinary Dr. Sara Strongin. “The skin infection affected the entire hind end of the dog.”

This morning, Registered Veterinary Technicians Pam Gates and Adriana Michel sedated the dog and finished the most difficult process of the matted coat: her legs and paws. “This is where the coat was so tightly adhered to the skin,” Dr. Strongin said. “It took them almost an hour to finish that task because the matted coat covered all surfaces along the entire length of all four legs, including the paws.”

The dog was given an injection to relieve her pain and discomfort. Her skin irritations were also treated. Eventually, the dog was fully shaved.

The dog’s condition is being investigated as animal cruelty and it’s likely a case will be submitted with the Riverside County District Attorney, said Sgt. Dylan Gates, Officer Hergenreder’s supervisor.

“This dog suffered in this condition and it’s just terrible to allow a breed of this type to go this long without properly grooming,” Sgt. Gates said. “Grooming a Lhasa Apso is not just for looks. It is imperative to get the grooming done regularly to ensure the dog’s health, too.”

Initially, Officer Hergenreder responded to the property on Irving Street because the owner contacted Animal Services saying his dog died. Later, the owner told Officer Hergenreder that his dog was “acting funny” and did not want to eat. When the officer found the dog, she was hiding under a bush against the house. The officer asked the man when was the last time he had his pet properly groomed. The owner said “about a year.”

The Lhasa Apso's coat is thick and dense, therefore it does mat and tangle easily. The coat needs to be brushed and maintained on a regular basis to prevent such matting from forming. A visit to a professional groomer every six to eight weeks would be considered proper pet ownership.

Ultimately, the owner relinquished ownership to Riverside County Animal Services. After the dog recuperates, it will be put up for adoption or transferred to one of the department’s rescue group partner organizations.

Contact a Shelter

Western Riverside: (951) 358-7387 (PETS)
San Jacinto: (951) 358-7387
Coachella Valley: (760) 343-3644
Blythe: (760) 921-7857

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