Sheriff's deputies seized five starving dogs from a home in the 1400 block of Ranger Highway in Weatherford, Tuesday.
The Boxer/Pit Bull mix are seriously malnourished, starved to a skeletal state.
"This is the first time I have seen a case that is so bad that their head is sunk in," said Weatherford/Parker County Animal Shelter Supervisor Tammie Wright, "Just literally skin, draped over bones."
Officers and deputies reported three adult males and two adult females were in dangerous condition and listed as lethargic due to neglect. The animals were surrendered by the owner to the care of the shelter. A veterinarian assessed the dogs, finding all of the dogs were in a state of severe malnutrition.
"Their condition indicated they had not received an adequate diet likely within the last three to four months," Dr. Veronica Flores told the Sheriff's Department. "Their bodies were depleted to a stage of severe muscle deterioration."
Deputies arrested the dogs' owner, Christine Lynn Shaw, 39, on felony animal cruelty charges.
Shaw bonded out Wednesday. If convicted she could face up to two years in jail.
"It just escapes me how a human being can sit there and watch this every day, the deterioration of an animal," Sheriff Larry Fowler said, "Obviously it leaps out of you that there's something terribly wrong here."
"This is really the most severe case I have ever come across in my 33 years of doing animal control," Wright said, "Whether it is a Pit Bull, a Chihuahua, or a Poodle, no animal deserves to be treated like this."
The dogs are in such bad shape, Wright is still not sure all of them will survive. The average weight for a pit bull is 65 pounds, one weighed only 20.
"He's lost so much muscle tone in his legs from not having enough to eat, that his legs shake," Wright said, "because it's hard for him to stand."
Little by little, the shelter is increasing the dogs' food intake but officials say it will take months before adoption could even be considered.
"There's hope that they can be brought back to a healthy state," Wright said, "Being the pit bull breed they had the will and the strength to survive."
Update September 23, 2010 9:48pm - The following article is by Domingo Ramirez Jr., Star-Telegram: