Prosecutors: Dix Hills man starved dog to point of emaciation

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Paul Matthews faces a slew of charges including torturing and injuring animals, failure to provide sustenance to an animal and abandonment of animals. Paul Matthews faces a slew of charges including torturing and injuring animals, failure to provide sustenance to an animal and abandonment of animals.
DIX HILLS -

Prosecutors say a nurse from Dix Hills made up a lost-and-found story about his neglected dog Oakley, who starved to the point of emaciation.

Paul Matthews faces a slew of charges including torturing and injuring animals, failure to provide sustenance to an animal and abandonment of animals.

Prosecutors say an examination revealed that Oakley was severely malnourished and weighed only 57 pounds – about 25 pounds underweight. They say an X-ray revealed sheetrock and steel debris in his stomach.

"He had no nutrition in his stomach, only rocks, steel, leaves and grass," says Jed Painter, an assistant district attorney in Nassau County. "Starving dogs will eat anything to survive, in this case, it was causing a lot of damage, possibly a blockage."

Oakley was near death when Matthews surrendered him to the Town of Hempstead Animal Shelter on Dec. 21, according to prosecutors. They say Matthews made up a story about finding the dog on Jericho Turnpike as a stray. 

A veterinarian determined the dog had been starved for about three months.

Prosecutors say an investigation found Matthews had been Oakley's owner and caregiver for at least two years. 

"You can't watch your animal waste away," Painter says. "You can't knowingly neglect your animal."

The dog underwent surgery and is doing better. Once he makes a full recovery, prosecutors say he'll be put up for adoption.

Matthews is due back in court Feb. 22.

No one answered the door at his Dix Hills home.

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