Beds, Herts & Bucks

Couple sentenced over 'trapped in fur' dog cruelty charges

A couple have been given suspended jail terms after their Old English Sheepdog had to be put down after being found trapped in its own fur.

David and Marjorie Massey, from Beeston, in Bedfordshire, were too embarrassed to take Woody the dog to a vet, prosecutors said.

The couple admitted two animal cruelty charges at Bedford Magistrates' Court.

They were sentenced to 22 weeks in jail, suspended for two years.

Two-hour operation

Massey, 62, and his partner, 60, were each told to complete 250 hours of unpaid work and pay £619 costs. They were also banned from keeping pets for life at Wednesday's hearing.

Janita Patel, prosecuting on behalf of the RSPCA, said Mr Massey had abandoned the dog at Wood Green Animal Centre, in Cambridgeshire at around 01:30 BST on 30 August last year.

Vets and nurses removed almost two stone (12.7kg) of matted fur from the dog - found tied up outside the shelter.

The animal's coat was so matted he struggled to see, hear or go to the toilet, the RSPCA said.

It had infected ears, mouth and eyes and over-grown claws.

'Just incomprehensible'

Despite a two-hour operation to remove the fur, the dog had to be put down.

The RSPCA traced the couple, of High Road, Beeston, through their car number plate.

The Masseys admitted causing unnecessary suffering to their dog by failing to provide veterinary care.

Speaking after the case, RSPCA chief inspector Mark Thompson said: "This poor dog was left in such a terrible condition.

"It is just incomprehensible that people could allow his condition to deteriorate in such a way.

"You can only imagine the amount of pain and discomfort that he was suffering over a long and extended period of time."