JONES COUNTY, MS (WDAM) - Southern Cross Animal Rescue said when they received pictures of two dogs found in a barn Monday night, they had to act fast.
"We try to help those who won't be helped, the worst of the worst. It was pretty significant, we have to help them right now," said Anna Norris, a board member with Southern Cross Animal Rescue.
Norris said the two dogs, now named Bob Marley and Rita, were in "bad shape." Bob had about eight pounds of hair and dirt matted on his skin.
"Bob's condition was the worst," said Norris. "His hair was severely matted, he couldn't see, he couldn't eat, he was basically lost in the world."
Norris said this neglect case was one of the worst - if not the worst - with matted hair.
"We get all different kinds of neglect cases, but for hair to be so long that its matting their mouth shut, its pretty significant," said Norris. "What's also bad, is it pulls at the skin - it's very painful," said Norris. "They get secondary abrasions that could lead to infections. It will just take him some time to heal from that."
Bob is scared around people and spends time following Rita, who rescuers call his "security blanket." SCAR took the dogs to Parkside Animal Hospital in Laurel, where groomer Kelly Trammel helped shave the pair.
"The matting that he had was creating pain in the skin, like pulling hair underneath your arm. This is what that dog felt all the time," said Trammel. "When it walked, moved, it pulled the hair from the knots."
Trammel said while this case is extreme, he does see many incidents where owners do not take care of the maintenance and grooming of their pets.
"The infections they get on the skin can actually go internal," said Trammel. "If it goes internal, it can go straight to the heart."
"Who knows where they come from or what they been through, they have kinda been fending for themselves... it's miraculous they even made it really."
"With neglect, it's a slower progression but the end is still the same, you have animals dying unnecessarily," said Norris. "Everything helps. If that story helps change one person's mind or you see a dog in trouble, we all do a little step to make the world better for pets and people."