Lillie, a cocker spaniel who had been living in the care of a woman in Queen Creek who was unable to properly care for her, was rescued by Maricopa County Sheriff’s Animal Cruelty Deputies last Friday after years of neglect, department officials said.

Sandra Wood, 67, was being checked on by deputies when they discovered Lillie, filthy and covered in matted fur that had not been groomed, possibly for years, officials said.

Also at Wood’s home was a dark brown horse named Santos, which was malnourished and covered in parasites, according to the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office.

Santos’ bones were protruding through his skin, and he was discovered to have a major heart murmur, officials said.

Both animals had trouble walking.

Emergency veterinarians arrived on scene and began to assess the horse. They soon determined that Santos’ health had declined to the point that he needed to be euthanized, according to MCSO.

Wood told deputies the animals had not received veterinary care in years. She signed a waiver giving permission to the Sheriff’s Office to care for them, officials said.

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Lillie was transported to the Palm Glen Animal Hospital in Phoenix, where she had large clumps of matted hair removed. The Sheriff’s Office said a veterinarian reported it was the worst case of of neglect he had seen in 21 years, according sheriff’s officials.

While Lillie’s condition is improving, the Sheriff’s Office says it is not clear when or if she’ll be healthy enough for adoption.

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Wood was taken to a local hospital, where she was being treated for unspecified illnesses, officials said. She told deputies she had become too ill to care for the animals, officials said.

She faces four counts of animal cruelty for not providing food, water or medical care to Santos and Lillie, according to the Sheriff’s Office. Three of those charges could be upgraded to felonies after the veterinarians complete their reports.

Wood acquired both Santos and Lillie when they were young.

Sheriff’s officials suggest that if a person becomes too ill to care for animals, they should contact a local animal rescue shelter for assistance.


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