A dog was found in an abandoned house in Lindenhurst, its matted fur and nails so overgrown that the animal no longer knows how to walk correctly, the Suffolk County SPCA said.
A $2,000 reward is being offered in the case of the Shih Tzu-type dog, which a person said he found July 17 at 131 S. Seventh St., a house he knew was abandoned, SPCA chief Roy Gross said Thursday.
Neighbors told investigators that the prior tenants had moved out almost a year ago, but investigators don't believe the dog was there that long, he said.
It's unclear how long the dog was in the house, but neighbors said they never saw this dog with the prior tenants, Gross said. "Somebody may have dumped the dog in there," he said.
After the pooch was brought to the Babylon Town shelter in West Babylon, it took workers more than three hours to shave 4 pounds of stinky, black fur from the dog, who now weighs 11 pounds and has been named Ziggy, the SPCA said. The dog appears to be 5 or 6 years old, the SPCA said.
"The matting was pulling so much on its legs, it couldn't walk," Gross said. "It was pathetic."
A video shows the dog trying to walk, a mix of paddling on his front legs and some hopping on his back legs.
Chris Elton, director of the Babylon Animal Shelter, said it was the worst case of matting on a dog that he has ever seen, the SPCA release said.
Even after the hair was gone and the long nails clipped, the dog continued walking disjointedly, either because of muscle atrophy or because it had gotten used to walking abnormally, Gross said.
The animal was taken to the New York Veterinary Specialty & Emergency Center in Farmingdale, which is providing pro bono care, including extensive physical therapy, so the dog can learn how to walk correctly, the SPCA said.
The agency is offering $1,000 and another $1,000 is being offered by the New York State Humane Association.
Anyone with information may call the SPCA at 631-382-7722. All calls are confidential.