Animal Neglect Weighs Less Than Six Ounces
11:06 AM, Thursday, September 22
Animal neglect can carry the weight of a mountain. In purely scientific terms neglect can weigh as little as 5.25 ounces. But when the medical team at Rancho Coastal Humane Society in Encinitas shaved just more than 149 grams of dirty, flea and tick-infested fur from a small dog named, "Dusty" it changed his world forever.

"Dusty was a dingy, brownish-gray mess when he was transferred to Rancho Coastal Humane Society (RCHS) from another Southern California animal shelter," says RCHS spokesman John Van Zante. "It was impossible to feel his skin because his entire body was covered with matted, dirty fur. It was like a combination between dread locks and steel plating. When we shaved him his entire coat came off in one piece. It's like he was wearing a body cape."

Van Zante says that, in spite of the neglect that led to Dusty's appearance, the 1-1/2 year old Miniature Poodle has a loving personality and positive attitude. "Once he was shaved the first thing he did was roll around on the ground. He was so happy to actually feel his skin. Now Dusty is basking in the attention he's getting, a steady diet, and the loving hands of our Rancho Coastal Humane Society staff and volunteers."

Oh. And another thing. "He's a white dog! When he first got here, we thought he might be. Now we know that, under all the matted, dirty fur there was a bright, white, 13 pound dog that needs a new home with a loving family. Dusty shivers a bit without his protective armor. But he's going to be just fine."

The public is welcome to meet Dusty along with the other dogs and cats, puppies and kittens available for adoption at RCHS. For more information visit Rancho Coastal Humane Society at 389 Requeza Street in Encinitas, call 760-753-6413, or log on to
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