A Nanaimo man whose dog’s fur was so matted that the animal’s head was barely discernable from his hind quarters has been charged with animal cruelty.
Paul Korneluk is charged under both the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act and the Criminal Code of Canada for allowing Buckley, a lhasa apso/shih tzu mix, to endure painful matting all over his body.
“In a best-case scenario, this individual demonstrated a complete lack of awareness for the proper care of his pet, and in a worst-case scenario blatant neglect,” said Marcie Moriarty, general manager of cruelty investigations for the BC SPCA.
Responding to a complaint, special provincial constable Tina Heary attended Korneluk’s home to find Buckley covered from head to toe in dense matting. The small dog’s mobility was so extremely compromised by lack of grooming that he limped, was unable to balance and frequently fell forward onto his face.
Buckley’s fur was so matted that his ears were knotted together at the top of his head. His fur was also covered in feces and his overgrown nails extended more than two inches from his toes. Buckley’s limbs were red and raw.
“The pictures truly tell the story,” said Heary, referring to photos from the case showing a filthy mass of rolls draped over Buckley’s body like a heavy blanket.
A veterinarian shaved 2.3 kilograms (five pounds) of fur from Buckley’s body, uncovering numerous skin sores and infections.
“Buckley weighed 7.9 kilograms (17.5 pounds) before he was shaved, and 5.6 kilograms (12.5 pounds) after he was shaved,” said Heary. “He was carrying 2.3 kilograms (five pounds) of fur.”
Moriarty says Buckley is one of the most severe examples of poor grooming the BC SPCA has ever encountered. But there have been worse cases — the society typically encounters at least one dog a year who has lost a limb as a result of severe matting.
“What happens is the fur gets so tangled that it cuts off circulation. The flesh is slowly pinched away and rots off.”
Severe matting decreases blood circulation to the skin, causes tremendous and constant pain and decreases mobility.
Korneluk makes his first appearance in Nanaimo court June 16.
The British Columbia Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals is a not-for-profit organization reliant on public donations. Our mission is to protect and enhance the quality of life for domestic, farm and wild animals in B.C.