Dog So Thin His Joints Caused Open Wounds Taken In by Missouri Shelter

A dog so thin that his joints caused open wounds on his skin has been taken in by an animal rescue shelter in St. Louis, Missouri.

The Stray Rescue of St. Louis shelter said on Wednesday that they had taken in a four-year-old dog called Danny after he was brought into their care.

Images of Danny, who was named by staff at the shelter, were posted to Facebook by the shelter, receiving over a thousand positive interactions and more than 100 supportive comments on the social media site.

Millions of animals are taken in by rescue shelters in the United States every year. An estimated 6.3 million pets, including 3.1 million dogs, enter shelters in the U.S. annually, according to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA). Approximately 70 percent of households in the U.S. own domestic animals, the 2021-22 American Pet Production's National Pet Owner's Survey found.

Animal neglect and abandonment is illegal under Missouri state law. It is considered a Class C misdemeanor for a first offense and Class B misdemeanor for subsequent offenses, punishable by imprisonment or a fine.

The photographs of Danny posted to Facebook showed him with visible signs of damage on his face and raw injuries over his skin. The dog's ribs were clearly visible through his fur.

"He is doing well, he just craves love. We're feeding him very small meals several times a day. You really have to be careful feeding a dog this malnourished. It will take some time, but he knows he is safe and with good people," Natalie Thomson, marketing director at Stray Rescue, told Newsweek.

"Soon he'll be ready for a foster home where he can heal in peace and quiet instead of a noisy shelter. We will give his foster family a feeding schedule so he can continue his healing journey," she said.

The shelter, which was founded in 1998 and is based in Pine Street in downtown St Louis, said that Danny weighed half the expected body weight for his breed at 40 pounds.

They said they were working to feed him small meals throughout the day to help with his recovery and noted the risk of re-feeding. Re-feeding syndrome is a potentially fatal change in fluids and electrolytes that can occur in malnourished animals.

"Danny's case is neglect, but we also see gunshot wounds, embedded collars, broken legs, shattered joints, and more," Thomson said. "We have become a disposable society and punishment is so lax for those that mistreat animals. Until laws change, and more people spay and neuter their pets and choose adoption, we will continue seeing cases like this daily."

The shelter is also asking for donations to continue their work, suggesting those who want to help contribute five dollars a month.

The shelter's website said they were currently linked to 372 foster families. Stray Rescue of St Louis say that they seek out and help those dogs not taken in or euthanized by other animal rescue shelters.

Stock image of US shelter dog
Stock image of a shelter dog. An estimated 3.1 million dogs are brought into US rescue shelters every year. Kyle Reynolds/Getty Images