Dog with maggots in fur, two others seized in animal cruelty case

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A blind Shih Tzu was found with maggots living in its fur.

The 9-pound dog, named Trixie, was one of three dogs seized during an animal cruelty investigation. Trixie was found in the middle of West Gen Chennault Lane in Crystal River, under her mangled and tangled mat of hair.

A good Samaritan found her and kept her company until animal control officers arrived on Sunday night. The officers tracked down the owner's neighbor who showed them where the dog lived, however, Joi Richheimer, who was eventually arrested for animal cruelty, was not home that night.

Two additional dogs were found in the back yard. One was and orange chow mix dog who paralyzed in her back and couldn't stand or walk. That dog was also badly matted and blind. The third dog, a female pit bull, showed minor signs of neglect, according to the Citrus County Sheriff's Office. It was later learned she wasn't living there as long as the other two dogs, and was taken to a local animal shelter.

Veterinarians further examined Trixie to discover over one-third of her body weight was her own matted fur, which contained living maggots, feces, urine and shredded metal. She was extremely emaciated, according to an arrest report. "You could feel her spine and her sides sunken in and … her entire ribcage even though she was covered with thick matted fur."

The report also indicated that each time the chow mix took three to four steps, "its hind end would collapse to the ground and then it would rest prior to walking again."

The vet and her staff said they've never seen a case this bad, according to the Sheriff's Office.

Officers returned to the Crystal River home on Wednesday night and arrested Richheimer for two counts of felony animal cruelty. She admitted to officers she owned the three dogs. After reading her Miranda rights, according to her arrest report, she said she understood her rights and responded with, "I didn't mean for them to get this bad."