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Dog Covered in 8 Pounds of Fur, Owner Charged

Veterinarians spent over two hours trimming the dog's fur.

Animal cruelty laws, developed to protect animals from abuse, vary from state to state. For example, under Pennsylvania law, cruelty to animals includes neglect of animals or failure to provide simple necessities like food and water, clean and sanitary shelter and protection from weather, and necessary veterinary care. "A person commits an offense if the person intentionally, knowingly or recklessly illtreats, overloads, beats, tortures, abandons or abuses an animal," explains the Pennsylvania SPCA. This week in New York, a dog owner was charged with animal cruelty after authorities found the canine with over eight pounds of matted fur. 

Neighbors Called the SPCA and Reported Someone Neglecting Their Dog

Putnam County SPCA (NY)/Facebook

Earlier this month, Chief Ken Ross of Putnam County's Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals received a call from a woman claiming that her New York neighbor was neglecting their dog. Ross and the officers visited the home and requested to see the canine.

The Mini Poodle, Pierre, Was Covered with Eight Pounds of Matted Fur

Putnam County SPCA (NY)/Facebook

According to Ross, the miniature poodle, Pierre, was covered in over eight pounds of matted fur, which concealed his eyes and most of his face, sprouting from his body like tentacles. "This is probably the worst case that we've ever seen," Ross told The Washington Post.

The Owner Was Charged with Animal Cruelty, and the Dog Was Taken to the Vet

Putnam County SPCA (NY)/Facebook

The officers charged the dog's owner, Brian Edwards, with animal cruelty and took the dog, Pierre, 9, to a veterinary hospital. Three workers shaved and cut the dog's fur for over two hours. They removed urine and feces. They also uncovered a red collar from around his neck. 

He Dropped From 22 pounds to 13.8

Putnam County SPCA (NY)/Facebook

After grooming the dog went from 22 pounds to 13.8 and looked like a different dog. "The pain that these guys are in when your hair is that knotted and matted," said Jason Berg, the founder of Guardian Veterinary Specialists in Brewster, N.Y., "it's heartbreaking." He believes that the dog's fur has been growing for at least 18 months. 

Pierre Was in Pain and Had a Bladder Infection

Putnam County SPCA (NY)/Facebook

Beg added that Pierre was in pain when doctors touched his fur. Pierre also had a bladder infection and refused to eat for a day after he arrived in the vet.

Neighbors Hadn't Seen the Dog Outside in Seven Years

Putnam County SPCA (NY)/Facebook

According to neighbors, the dog hadn't been seen outside in seven years. Edwards is scheduled for an arraignment on Aug. 30 at the Patterson Justice Court.

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Pierre Is at a Poodle Rescue in Connecticut

Putnam County SPCA (NY)/Facebook

Pierre is currently residing in a poodle rescue in Connecticut, where Pierre will stay until he finds a new owner. "You can tell he feels a lot better," Berg said. "I mean, he's still a very cautious dog. So we have to go slow with him because, you know, who knows what he went through?"

To Trim or Not to Trim?

Professional groomer cut fur with scissors and clipper at the little smile dog labradoodle. Funny dog sitting at the grooming salon or vet clinic and looked trustingly

Maintaining the happiness and health of your beloved pet involves regular and appropriate grooming practices. Particularly during sweltering seasons, many pet owners contemplate giving their dogs a fur trim to prevent overheating, Pawsbuff reports. Yet, not all canine breeds require a fur cut. Refer to this concise handbook to discern whether your furry companion truly needs a trim or not.

The Importance of Hair Type in Regulating Body Temperature

Young crossbreed dog (german shepherd) during sunset in grass.

Contrary to common belief, dogs don't regulate their body temperature by sweating through their skin like humans do. Instead, they release heat through their paw pads and mouths. Consequently, simply shearing off their fur doesn't necessarily contribute to temperature control. Dogs exhibit a vast array of fur textures, including long, short, curly, silky, soft, or coarse variations, each serving different purposes.

Certain dog breeds possess a dual-layered coat: a denser outer layer and a finer undercoat, hidden unless the outer layer is lifted. This undercoat creates an insulating air pocket within the coat, offering the dog a natural defense against harsh weather conditions.

These Breeds Require Fur Maintenance

Running german shepherd dog

If your dog boasts this concealed under-layer, it's unwise to trim its fur. Such an action would strip away the pooch's innate defense against heat, potentially causing discomfort. Notably, the breeds possess this protective undercoat: Herding dogs like German shepherds, mastiffs, or border collies. Hunting breeds, including dachshunds or labrador retrievers. Arctic breeds like huskies. Any crossbreeds that inherit the undercoat genes, regardless of their appearance.

Close scrutiny of your dog's fur will reveal whether a trim is suitable. The presence of minute hairs indicates an undercoat, signaling that fur clipping is inadvisable.

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