DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. - Peter Pan the Shih Tzu dog was wondering the streets of Stone Mountain with severely matted fur, and while LifeLine DCAS was able to save him, the dog had to have a front leg amputated.
"You couldn't even tell the dog was a dog when he came into us," said Karen Hirsch, Lifeline Animal.
Peter Pan's fur was so matted that the shelter veterinarian determined it had cut off circulation to his front leg for too long, and that amputation was the only option.
He is healing nicely from the surgery and is now ready to be adopted.
"He had mats around all four paws, but his front right paw was the one that the circulation was cut off to for a long time, so long that we're going to have to amputate his leg," said Hirsch.
The Shih Tzu was picked up by DeKalb County Animal Services Enforcement and taken to LifeLine Animal Project's DeKalb County Animal Services (DCAS) shelter.
"I don't think we've ever seen one quite this matted, but this one takes the cake," said Hirsch. "A lot of people think that grooming is just for cosmetics to make your dog look pretty when it's actually for their health. They need to be brushed."
Peter Pan is undergoing treatment with antibiotics to clear up the infections, caused by lack of grooming prior to the amputation surgery, which will be performed on Monday at the shelter's clinic. This case is being investigated to see if an owner can be located.
"Enforcement is looking to see if they can determine who might have owned this dog, And if they can the owner will be charged with neglect," said Hirsch.
"This situation just underscores how important proper grooming is," says LifeLine's DCAS Shelter Director Kerry Moyers-Horton. "Most people think that grooming is purely for cosmetic reasons, but lack of grooming can cause fur mats which can cause sores, pain and, in this case loss of a limb, so it's important to groom pets regularly."
After surgery, Peter Pan will go to rehabilitative care to heal before he is ready for adoption.
While Peter Pan is not up for adoption, Hirsch wanted to remind people there are plenty of animals at the shelter that are. Right now, during the month of May, cats and kittens are half off and all dogs over 25 pounds are half priced as well.