Abandoned dog's 'foot rotted off due to matted fur'
A dumped dog's fur was so badly matted it caused one of its paws to rot away and drop off, the RSPCA has said.
Rescuers said poodle-cross Benji "didn't even resemble a dog" when he was found abandoned near Peterborough.
He had to be sedated while a team of four people spent two hours shaving 1.2kg (2.6lb) of fur off his body.
Inspectors have vowed to find those responsible for "the worst case of neglect" ever seen by the vet who treated Benji.
Benji was severely dehydrated and could barely move due to his matted fur when he was found by a group of teenagers last week, the RSPCA said.
Vets discovered his right foot had completely rotted away, and skin had grown over the stump.
It is likely the foot could have been missing for months, if not longer, the charity said.
"It is thought this was the result of the matting which caused the circulation to stop. Without a blood supply his foot effectively died," a spokesman said.
Inspector Carrie O'Riordan, who was called to rescue the dog on 13 June, said she was determined to "find the person responsible for Benji's suffering".
"It would have taken months for Benji to have become this bad, and he would have been in tremendous pain and so uncomfortable," she said.
She praised the teenagers who wrapped him in shirts to keep him warm and waited for help to arrive.
Benji is recovering at the RSPCA's Block Fen centre in Cambridgeshire but staff are not yet sure whether the rest of his leg might need to be amputated.