Tragic 'walking skeleton' dog had hours to live (Image: RSPCA)
Oscar the American bulldog weighed 48lb – half the weight of a healthy dog his size – and “showed every bone in his body”. Remarkably, he still managed to wag his tail when he was rescued. Animal cruelty investigators have launched a hunt to find the person who left the pitiful pet to become another statistic in a shocking wave of dog abandonments this week. It is feared that owners are throwing animals on to the streets in the countdown to the Christmas holidays because they do not want to pay vets’ bills. Oscar is receiving urgent care at the RSPCA’s Greater Manchester Animal Hospital as the charity’s investigators appeal for help in finding out how he had been left tied to a post earlier this week.
A member of the public rushed seven year old Oscar to private vets when he was found languishing in Adshall Road, Cheadle Hulme, Cheshire, on Monday.
RSCPA Inspector Nadine Pengilly, who is leading the investigation, said: “I have been an inspector for 16 years and this is one of the saddest cases I’ve seen. Oscar was literally hours away from death.
“He was a walking skeleto. You could clearly see every bone in his body and he was half the weight he should have been. I am just so pleased to say he is now doing well and is expected to make a full recovery.
“Oscar was so weak when he was taken to the vets and was very cold and dehydrated but although he has been through so much suffering he was such a sweet and friendly dog. He was happily wagging his tail to staff while he was being treated.”
'You could see every bone in his body,' say RSPCA (Image: RSPCA)
By rights, Oscar should weigh around 100lb but tipped the scales at a mere 48lb when he was rescued. He also had urine marks on his paws and back – an indicator that he had been kept in a confined space – as well as having long claws.
Microchip details helped Inspector Pengilly to trace a previous woman owner in Stockport but she described how she had given Oscar away to a local man. He also later said that he had passed the dog on in June last year.
“I believe Oscar may have been locked in somewhere,” continued Inspector Pengilly.
“I feel sure someone must know who owned this dog and am appealing for them to come forward with that information. In the meantime we will be checking the local CCTV in the area.”
Oscar kept wagging tail despite being hours from death (Image: RSPCA)
Oscar was taken initially to the Woodcroft Veterinary Care Group in Cheadle for emergency treatment. Clinical director Jenny Walsh described how they saved his life.
“We have never seen a dog this underweight and he was so cold we think he may have been left out overnight,” she said.
“We were worried he may develop hypothermia but were able to warm him up and once rehydrated and after giving him some food he was much brighter and a lovely dog.
“All the team have a soft spot for him and even some of our clients bought him some dog toys and one sent him a card saying ‘Get Well Soon’.”
Anyone with information about who dumped Oscar should call the RSPCA appeals line on 0300 123 8018 .