Animal Control rescues dog with horrific skin condition

SKAGIT COUNTY, Wash. -- An Animal Control officer in Skagit County called a recent case of alleged animal cruelty one of the worst she's ever seen: A dog in pain due to dozens of open sores all over his body.

The dog was seized from a Skagit County home on Tuesday after an investigation that's spanned more than a year, Animal Control Officer Emily Diaz said. Someone first reported seeing a dog at the home last January that was missing some hair, Diaz said. Animal control officers made several trips to try to check on the dog, but officers didn't actually see him until this week, she added.

Diaz said she couldn't believe her eyes. She's been an animal control officer for nearly ten years.

"As far as skin conditions goes, this is the worst skin condition I've seen," Diaz said. "When the veterinarian put a finger on his back, he was cringing and pushing his back away from the finger."

The German-Shepherd mix is about 4 to 6 years old, Diaz said. He's in such poor condition that veterinarians have him on several medications to treat him for fungus, bacteria, fleas, and internal parasites, she added. Diaz said he needs to heal before a biopsy can be done to figure out what's wrong with him.

"It could just be a minor skin infection that was left untreated and progressed to what it is now, or it could be something more serious," Diaz said.

A non-profit organization that Diaz started several years ago called Skagit Animals in Need is paying for the dog's care while he stays at the Humane Society of Skagit Valley. The medical bills are adding up quickly.

"It's frustrating that people will let it get this far. But at the same time, I'm able to remove him and help him and get better," Diaz said.

The dog will go in for a check-up early next week to see how he's progressing, Diaz said. Diaz doesn't know what the dog's future holds, but she's hoping for the best.

"That he gets treated, healed up, gets healthy, and put into a home that will love him," she said.

No charges have been filed in the case, and all the other animals at the home where the dog was seized appeared to be healthy, Diaz said.

The dog's owners have 15 days to petition his release, Diaz said. If that happens, a judge will decide where the dog goes. If they don't petition his release, the county will get custody of the dog. He may eventually be put up for adoption, Diaz said.

For more information about Skagit Animals in Need and how you can make a donation, click on the related link.