UPDATE: Dog’s condition sparks outrage, owner cited for neglect - WSMV Channel 4

UPDATE: Sandra Dee, the dog, dies in her sleep

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CHATTANOOGA, TN (WRCB) -

UPDATE: The McKamey Animal Center shared Saturday on their Facebook page that Sandra Dee, the dog found in bloated condition and suffering from heartworms has died.

The dog, who was under a veterinarian’s care for her condition, apparently died in her sleep at the shelter.

The Facebook post explained that Sandra Dee enjoyed the staff’s affection during her last days, and they urge dog owners to test their pets for heartworms.


UPDATE: A dog found with a bloated abdomen and her bones showing is enjoying the attention and care from staff and volunteers at the McKamey Animal Center.

The staff has renamed Diamond, now calling her Sandra Dee.  

Jamie Lampman, McKamey's Executive Director tells Channel 3 that Sandra Dee is stable but not out of the woods.  The next three weeks can be dangerous as the heartworm treatments take effect.

For now she hangs out in a staff member's office enjoying the air-conditioning, soft blankets and good food.


UPDATE: A suspected case of animal neglect in Chattanooga has sparked outrage among hundreds of local animal lovers.

The picture of a bloated and boney dog sparked a lot of controversy on social media. Since Channel 3's initial story aired Monday, McKamey officers picked the dog up, and is now in vet care.

Animal control officers have cited the dog's owner with neglect for failure to take her to the vet after months of suffering. His name is not being released. The case will go to city court. 

In the meantime, the shelter is swamped with calls from people wanting to know how the dog is doing and if she'll survive.

The pit bull mix, named Diamond, is now in the care of McKamey Animal Center after a concerned citizen reported her condition of having a bulging abdomen and protruding bones. 

"It's pretty horrific the way it looks," McKamey Animal Service Supervisor Tiffany Newcomb said.

Earlier this week, Channel 3 interviewed Willene Hudgins who says the dogs in her back yard belong to her son. she says she took care of Diamond and just thought she was pregnant. 

"She's real huge and I guess that's why everybody thinks something is wrong with her," Hudgins said.

But after our story, animal control officers paid another visit the next day. Her son surrendered Diamond and they cited him for neglect. 

"After the dog had been in that condition for quite some time I think he realized that indeed was not pregnant and it was something serious wrong with her but he still failed to contact anyone," Newcomb said.

Veterinarians say the bloating is due to blood and fluid build up, which is a result of untreated heartworms.

"Been there long enough for the heart not to be able to pump like it should. We call it right side heart failure," Dr. Jerry Latham said.

They drained three liters, but she's still in rough shape. She's now on medication to ease the pain. 

"A lot of patients that come in like this they're automatically euthanized. They're not given a chance," Dr. Latham said.

But they're not giving up on her.

"Because she's so sweet we'd like to give her a chance to have a good life because obviously her previous life wasn't that great," Newcomb said.

They're doing a series of treatments and surgeries that they say she's handling pretty well so far. 

"We're going day by day. Just the fact that she's able to get up move around and walk, that's a plus," Dr. Latham said.

They're thankful someone reported this case, giving her a chance to live. They hope this shows others why it's so important to report suspected animal neglect. 

The Regional Institute for Veterinary Emergencies & Referrals, or RIVER, covered the cost of the dog's extensive testing. If she survives the necessary treatments, she will not go back to her original owner and will be adopted. Again, that's if she lives, and they can't guarantee her chances at this time. neglect. 

"After the dog had been in that condition for quite some time I think he realized that indeed was not pregnant and it was something serious wrong with her but he still failed to contact anyone," Newcomb said.

Veterinarians say the bloating is due to blood and fluid build up, which is a result of untreated heartworms.

"Been there long enough for the heart not to be able to pump like it should. We call it right side heart failure," Dr. Jerry Latham said.

They drained three liters, but she's still in rough shape. She's now on medication to ease the pain. 

"A lot of patients that come in like this they're automatically euthanized. They're not given a chance," Dr. Latham said.

But they're not giving up on her.

"Because she's so sweet we'd like to give her a chance to have a good life because obviously her previous life wasn't that great," Newcomb said.

They're doing a series of treatments and surgeries that they say she's handling pretty well so far. 

"We're going day by day. Just the fact that she's able to get up move around and walk, that's a plus," Dr. Latham said.

They're thankful someone reported this case, giving her a chance to live. They hope this shows others why it's so important to report suspected animal neglect. 

The Regional Institute for Veterinary Emergencies & Referrals, or RIVER, covered the cost of the dog's extensive testing. If she survives the necessary treatments, she will not go back to her original owner and will be adopted. Again, that's if she lives, and they can't guarantee her chances at this time. 


PREVIOUS STORY: Executive Director of McKamey Animal Center tells Channel 3 the dog was released by the owner on Tuesday into their custody.

The dog was examined by a veterinarian which discovered the dog was swollen due to fluid buildup, not puppies. They tell us she has several serious medical concerns, including heartworms and appeared to have been sick for quite some time. They are running blood work on the dog to determine just how bad her condition is.


PREVIOUS STORY: After pictures of a dog are posted online locals are outraged claiming the animal is being mistreated.

"She's just huge and you can see every bone in her body and blood vessel. I mean it's just terrible," said a concerned citizen.

Some people even called McKamey Animal Center. 

"She's real huge and I guess that's why everybody thinks something is wrong with her," said Willene Hudgins. 

Hudgins says the dogs in her back yard belong to her son. 

She says they've been at her home for more than 6 months and says there is nothing to be concerned about that the dog in question is just pregnant.

"No no no, there is nothing to be concerned of. They're being taken care of and you can tell by looking at the other one. They get plenty of food and water and I wouldn't dare let them stay here if they didn't," said Hudgins.

But the concerned citizen isn't buying that story.

"Even if she was pregnant she wouldn't be skin and bones, she has to be eating, I just don't understand..  how that's an acceptable reason," said the citizen.

Hudgins claims the pregnancy is what is making her look so bad.

"She's so big that her weight is pulling down her skin on her neck," said Hudgins.

But admits that the dog has been pregnant for a while and that something could be wrong.

"I don't know if there is a tumor behind the babies or if all of the babies are dead," said Hudgins. "I'm going to give her one more week to see if she's going to drop them and if she doesn't then he needs to do something about it, but she's fine."

Channel 3 spoke to the Executive Director at McKamey Animal Center, they say they are looking into the situation.

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