Neglected poodle unable to stand under weight of own fur

February 8, 2008 7:46:03 PM PST
Animal rescuers discovered a miniature poodle so neglected that it could not stand under the weight of its own matted, feces-covered fur, authorities said Friday. An animal protection agent arrested Diana Elias, the owner of the six-year-old dog named Miss Bea, which was discovered in a Manhattan apartment closet with three pounds of gnarled fur on its roughly six-pound frame.

"Miss Bea's body and all four of her legs were encased in a solid cocoon of severely matted hair, and she demonstrated considerable pain when she was handled," Dr. Robert Reisman, an American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals medical coordinator, said in a statement.

The ASPCA noted that poodles and some other dogs have been bred not to shed their fur, making grooming particularly vital. Miss Bea's nails had grown so long that they curled around and pierced her paws, the organization said.

Elias, 52, faces up to a year in jail and a $2,000 fine if convicted on animal cruelty charges. Rescuers went to the home on an anonymous complaint. Elias has no listed phone number, and prosecutors had no information on whether she had a lawyer.

Miss Bea has been treated and will be put up for adoption.