Dog 'just days from death' rescued after surviving for months in Utah desert

Canine diagnosed with severe case of mange and malnourishment 

Tom Embury-Dennis
Tuesday 16 January 2018 14:12 GMT
Kelly the dog found after spending months lost in a Utah desert
Kelly the dog found after spending months lost in a Utah desert (Fox 13 (screengrab))

A dog just days from death has been rescued after surviving for "months" in a desert.

The canine was spotted running on the Salt Flats in Utah on Sunday evening by Matt Bentley, who had been taking his own dog off-roading in the West Desert to celebrate its third birthday.

The dog came over after being called at, and Mr Bentley put it in his Jeep. It was only when he turned on the vehicle's light that he saw “how bad a shape it was in”.

He took it to a vet, who passed it on to the Utah Animal Adoption Center (UAAC), where it is now recovering.

“I’ve seen something running in the distance, I wasn’t sure what is was at first,” Mr Bentley told news channel Fox 13. “It came up to me and you could tell it was friendly, so I grabbed it and put it in the jeep."

He continued: “That’s kind of when I realised and it sunk in how bad a shape it was in.”

Mr Bentley shared footage of the animal shortly after its rescue on Facebook, and suggested it would be put down if someone failed to take it in.

Lila Oulson, a UAAC shelter manager, said she had “never seen a dog in that bad of a shape” after it was diagnosed with severe cases of mange and malnourishment.

“She’s scabbed over, she has sores on her, and then she has no fur,” Ms Oulson said.

She added: “I would think she’d have to have been out there at least three months, if not more. I don’t think she’d of survived another week or two out there.”

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In December and January, the West Desert regularly dips below freezing, with temperatures getting especially cold after sunset.

Utah’s tourism website describes the Salt Flats as “so barren not even the simplest life forms can exist”.

Despite its months-long ordeal, Ms Oulsen said the dog, who has been named Kelly, remained “sweet” and “wants to be around people”.

Vets do not yet know if the dog has an owner, its age or even its breed, due to the condition of its skin. UAAC hope to find out if the dog is micro-chipped when it goes for its next scan on Tuesday.

Despite Mr Bentley's fears it would be put down, Ms Oulsen told Fox 13 the rescue centre would adopt Kelly as soon as it is healthy, if no owner is found.

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