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Chronicle Live
Kathryn Riddell

Thinnest dog RSPCA rescuer had ever seen starts recovery at County Durham shelter

The skinniest dog an RSPCA rescuer has ever seen in his 16-year career is starting to recover after being discovered barely alive.

The poor dog also had 98% fur loss due to an untreated skin condition and had a broken tail bone which was so badly infected part of it had rotted completely off.

South Yorkshire police officers came across the distressed dog - named Lucas - in Huddersfield Road, Barnsley, on Thursday April 20 and alerted the RSPCA. The greyhound/lurcher cross was terrified and could barely move as he was so weak.

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RSPCA Inspector Ben Cottle-Shaw was sent to collect the pet and although he has come across many awful cases of neglect in his career he said this was the most emaciated dog he had seen which was still alive.

Ben said: “I was really shocked when I first saw him. He was the thinnest dog that I had ever seen which was still alive and on top of this he had an awful untreated skin condition which meant he was constantly scratching and had left him almost completely bald.

"I could tell by his demeanour and look in his eyes Lucas had given up on life as he was so broken and withdrawn. It was heartbreaking to see.

“I rushed him for veterinary treatment and was worried he might not even make the short journey for emergency treatment.

“But once there he was such a friendly little boy despite being obviously starving and suffering from a horrific case of sarcoptic mange.”

Lucas the dog who was rescued by the RSPCA (RSPCA)

At the vet’s, a bandage which had been placed around the tip of his tail was removed and it was found his tail bone was broken and he had been left with an open wound. The wound had become so infected that the end of the tail dropped off as the bandage was taken off.

The vet also suspects that Lucas may have come from a home with another dog due to scratch marks found down his front legs.

This has caused concern as the type of sarcoptic mange Lucas had is highly infectious and also transferable to humans so Ben fears other pets or even people in the household from where Lucas came from could also be infected.

A microchip revealed he was called Lucas but his ownership details had not been kept up-to-date.

After receiving emergency veterinary treatment, Lucas was transferred into the care of the RSPCA Felledge Centre in County Durham where against the odds he is making a good recovery.

Luka Atkinson, animal centre deputy manager, said: “He is such a sweetheart and is already beginning to find some energy to run around the exercise field. His fur is beginning to grow back and he is on a special diet to help regain weight slowly. The colour of his skin is now paler as his inflammation has settled more.

“There is still quite a way to go and Lucas will not be ready for rehoming for a while.”

Ben is now appealing for anyone who knows who is responsible for neglecting Lucas to call the RSPCA appeals line on 0300 123 8018.

He added: “I am sure someone will recognise who owned this poor boy as the state of his neglect makes him very distinctive. The fact that he had a bandage on his tail and was wearing a brown leather lead may also provide clues.

“I am very keen to find who left Lucas in such a horrendous state of suffering and then simply dumped him like rubbish close to death. I am confident someone will recognise him and urge anyone who can help to get in touch.”

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