Blind dog found dumped by canal was in such a bad state passers-by thought he was dead

A blind dog with severely matted fur was presumed dead after it was found dumped and lying at the side of a canal. But the ‘terrified’ dog showed signs of life just moments later, now sparking an investigation by the RSPCA to find the owners who abandoned him.

The male Shih Tzu dog was discovered near Ashton Canal at Portland Basin in Ashton-under-Lyne on Friday, March 25. When a man walking in the area first came across the dog, he initially thought it was dead because of the poor state it was in.

But when he saw the neglected dog was breathing but terrified to move, he took him home to help him recover. After a week of care, the man realized the dog was in need of further treatment and took him to a nearby vet.

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The incident was later reported to the RSPCA and Inspector Ryan King collected the dog. The six-year-old dog, now named Ashton, was rushed to Greater Manchester Animal Hospital for emergency veterinary treatment.

Ryan said: “When the man who found Ashton first came across him he was laying next to a bench near the canal; as he wasn’t moving he thought the poor pet was already dead. But on closer inspection he realized he was breathing.

Ashton was found ‘terrified’ and with severely matted fur after being dumped at the side of Ashton Canal

“His fur was so heavy and matted, he appeared unable to move and he was obviously terrified. Vets at the animal hospital later found he was blind in one eye with glaucoma and had very little sight due to cataracts – so it is not surprising the poor dog would have been too terrified to move from where he was abandoned.”

The inspector said that Ashton may now need to have both of his eyes removed in a bid to prevent any further problems. Despite this, the abandoned pet is said to be doing well. Ryan added: “Sadly it looks like both eyes may have to be removed to prevent further suffering – although vets will do all they can to save the eye with cataracts.

“While also at the hospital staff had to shave off 1.3 kilograms of matted fur – which was 10% of his overall body weight – as this was preventing him from moving and causing him suffering. Thankfully he is doing well in himself and will remain in RSPCA care while he recovers.”

Ben Faulkner, manager at Greater Manchester Animal Hospital, said: “This poor dog was in a terrible state with matted fur and blindness which meant he was struggling to move. Our team immediately set to work on shaving off the matted fur and he seemed much happier afterwards.

“Sometimes matting can cut off blood supply to limbs and in some cases dogs left in this state have had to have amputations. Fortunately this was not the case although the dog had overgrown nails and one was curling into the paw pad which would have caused considerable suffering.

Ashton, a six-year-old Shih Tzu dog, was found dumped at the side of Ashton Canal.
Ashton, a six-year-old Shih Tzu dog, was found dumped at the side of Ashton Canal.

“He was also found to have multiple eye conditions which will require further examinations and possible removal and had ear infections in both ears which he is now receiving treatment for.”

Ryan said he is now keen to find the owner of Ashton, who was not microchipped, and is appealing for anyone with information to contact him. He said: “Ashton was clearly neglected and it appears that instead of seeking help for their pet the owner decided to dump him and left him in a very vulnerable position as he couldn’t see or walk – he would have been terrified in such an unknown environment.”

Ashton will now receive further treatment and once he has fully recovered he will be found a new home. Anyone with information which can help the investigation should call the RSPCA appeals line on 0300 123 8018.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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