3 May 2023

Shocking images of a dog found with a severely matted coat have prompted a reminder from RSPCA WA about the high care needs of some popular breeds.

Maltese-cross Lucas was found covered in dreadlocks and riddled with hundreds of grass seeds last month.

It took vets over an hour to remove more than 700g of his severely matted fur.

RSPCA WA Inspector Manager Kylie Green said a string of dogs in similar condition had arrived in care recently.

‘We’re seeing more dogs with terribly overgrown coats that point to many months without grooming,’ she said.

‘RSPCA WA currently has two Maltese-crosses, two Lhasa Apsos and an elderly toy poodle in care who were in such poor condition that we’re looking at prosecuting their owners for animal cruelty.

‘It’s not just about looks–when a dog’s fur gets long and matted it can lead to discomfort, pain, restricted movement and eye, ear or skin infections.

‘All dogs require washing and grooming, and ignoring these needs in a high-care breed can quickly become a welfare concern.’

Popular breeds which require regular washing, clipping, and grooming include poodle and poodle crosses, Maltese-crosses and the Bichon Frise, as well as long-haired breeds like the Cavalier spaniel.

‘This is a cost and time commitment that owners need to factor in before they commit one of these popular breeds,’ Ms Green said.

‘If you are struggling to care for your animal, reach out to friends, family, or a rescue group like RSPCA WA before things get out of hand. Please don’t let your pet suffer.’

Four-year-old Lucas continues to recover in RSPCA WA’s care and will be listed on adoptapet.com.au when he is ready for a new home.

Report cruelty 24/7 on 1300 CRUELTY (1300 278 358) or online here.