As a pet owner, this is sad in so many ways.
A family in Sussex County is heartbroken and living without their beloved dog who died after tangling with a porcupine in Montague. The dog was left with countless porcupine quills stuck in its body and was rushed to the local veterinarian’s office to be treated for the incident – leaving the family with a vet bill of nearly $20,000!
Miranda DeGennaro, 22, the owner of Chester, the 9-year-old pit bull mix, says the animal hospital staff told her they had “never seen such bad spikes in all their lives.”
Chester had apparently become involved in a backyard fight with a porcupine outside the family’s home in Sussex County, New Jersey around 2 a.m. on the morning of Sept. 2.
Unfortunately, Chester died a week after attacking a porcupine on the deck of the Sussex County family’s home, reported NJ.com.
“We saw him running and barking, so we ran down the deck, but it was too late,” DeGennaro told NJ.com on Tuesday of the Sept. 2 attack.
A North American porcupine sports a good 30,000 quills, each one armed with 700 or 800 barbs on the four millimeters closest to the tip, according to Science magazine.
A vet was able to remove dozens sticking out of Chester’s face, neck, chest, and paws, according to a Facebook post from DeGennaro, 22.
The third-largest rodent, porcupines weigh between 15 and 35 pounds, according to Veterinary Centers of America Inc., a nationwide network of animal hospitals. Their quills are actually modified hairs and are covered with scales that act like fishhook barbs, which helps them travel deeper in once they’re embedded in soft tissue.
In order to save the dog’s life, DeGennaro was asked to pay a $12,000 down payment for the surgery. She could not afford such a steep vet bill.
Nevertheless, the hospital performed the surgery in a desperate effort to rescue Chester, but they were not successful. The dog died from injuries sustained in the porcupine attack while he was down for surgery.
Now, the young dog owner has to pay back a nearly $20,000 vet bill.
“He really did need the surgery, and obviously, we all thought he was going to live. It was really important for him to get the surgery,” said DeGennaro. “I really thought he was going to make it.”
The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection says the agency does not track the porcupine population in the state, but directed to a warning on wildlifehelp.org:
“Dogs never seem to learn to avoid them, so keep dogs confined or on a leash when a porcupine is in the neighborhood,” the website said.
“I just didn’t know how deadly they could be, I didn’t even know that we have them in this area,” Miranda DeGennaro said. “I would hate for anyone to go to this because it’s just awful, traumatizing.”
A family friend created a GoFundMe page to help defray the cost of Chester’s roughly $20,000 in medical expenses.