PHOTOS: Severely neglected dogs undergo amazing transformation at Prince William Co. shelter

Photos of three Shih Tzus that were recently taken in by the Prince William County Animal Shelter are shocking, but authorities say luckily, all three dogs will be okay. When they arrived at the shelter, the dogs were were so severely matted that they could not walk or go to the bathroom.

Pictures of Marley, Rita and Ziggy were posted on the the Prince William County Animal Shelter's Facebook page, and shared by the Prince William County Police Department as well. The shelter says the three dogs were originally from West Virginia, and they were dropped off by a concerned citizen. 

Looking at the photos, you might not even be able to tell they are dogs. The shelter says their long, matted hair smelled so strongly of urine and feces that it was hard to breath around them. 

CLICK ON THE SLIDESHOW ABOVE TO SEE ALL OF THE BEFORE AND AFTER PHOTOS (Mobile users: Click here to see photos)

Thought it was heartbreaking, the Prince William County Animal Shelter staff quickly began working to help the three dogs. One of the dogs, Marley, even had to be sedated in order to be groomed because it was clear to the staff it was just too painful.  

The other two dogs, Rita and Ziggy, were groomed at the shelter using a mild sedative and some unconventional tools. Their mats were so sick and hard, the staff had to use garden sheers to break through them. 

Under all that matted hair, the shelter staff discovered three sweet, purebred Shih Tzus that are now getting back to normal. The shelter says their first steps were awkward because they were used to carrying the weight of so much hair. 

The shelter's groomer has been grooming animals for over 20 years, and said these dogs were in the worst condition of any dogs she had ever seen. 

The shelter reminds you that April is Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Month. They say some people don't realize how important grooming is to your pets, but in cases like these, neglecting it can be considered animal cruelty. For dogs like these, they say, grooming is required every six weeks. 

There's no word yet on if or when Marley, Rita and Ziggy will be available for adoption.

More information: Prince William County Animal Shelter on Facebook
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