Found in the backyard of a burnt-out and unoccupied property in Adelaide’s south, Dizzy and Milo had been left without food and water for days.
But their heavily matted and fetid coats revealed a much longer history of neglect.
Seized by RSPCA and freed from pain
When seized by RSPCA South Australia Inspector Cheryl in August 2016, Dizzy and Milo had such severely matted coats they could barely even see. Veterinarians had to sedate both Maltese-cross dogs and painstakingly shave them from head to tail.
“We couldn’t even tell what kind of dogs they were underneath all that matting. They just looked like walking mops. Their coats had become dreadlocks, which had all sorts embedded in them – feaces, urine, food, rubbish. The smell was terrible,” Inspector Cheryl recalls.
“They must have been in so much pain, because matting like that constantly pulls on their sensitive skin.
“Many badly matted dogs like these two can be snarly and snappy because they are scared and in pain. But once you shave them, it’s like a weight has been lifted from them and they become so much happier. That’s exactly what happened with Dizzy and Milo.”
A new life of love and cuddles
After several weeks of specialist care at RSPCA Lonsdale, Dizzy and Milo were ready for adoption. They found their new forever home in October 2016, moving in with Hayley and her three daughters.
“We were only looking for one dog, but we came home with two. We saw Dizzy and Milo and just fell in love with them straight away, even though they were so skinny,” Hayley recalls.
“They’ve very pampered now. They sleep inside on my daughter’s bed – they’ve got their own little beds that sit on top of her bed. Dizzy snores, but luckily my daughter sleeps like a rock!”
The two little dogs do bare some scars of their past neglect. When seized, Dizzy suffered inflammation of the surface of her eyes; she’ll require medicated drops for the rest of her life. Both had dental issues and needed cleaning and multiple teeth extractions. And they also had to learn crucial toilet training and walking skills.
“They’ve got lovely coats now. We take them to the groomers regularly. They truly are spoiled – and we wouldn’t have it any other way,” Hayley says.
Former owner gets ban on owning animals
In November 2017, Dizzy and Milo’s former owner faced Christies Beach Magistrates Court. The defendant, 44-year-old Michelle Economou from Hackham, pleaded guilty to neglecting her two dogs.
She received a nine-month good behaviour bond, but the magistrate chose to record no conviction. Economou was also ordered to pay $1,794 in veterinary and court costs, and was banned from owning animals indefinitely.
It’s only thanks to passers-by, who called RSPCA South Australia, that we were able to help Dizzy and Milo. Please, if you see animal cruelty or neglect, immediately call our 24-hour hotline on 1300 4 777 22.
RSPCA South Australia is the state’s only animal welfare charity empowered to prosecute animal cruelty under SA’s Animal Welfare Act. Learn more here.