RESCUE dog Tam’s owner has admitted not looking after the animal after the pet was found with hair so matted she could not even see.
The 10-year-old shih tzu should have been safe and content with owner Cheryl Welch and her family after already being rescued once before.
But instead the animal’s hair was allowed to grow so matted it has irreparably damaged the dog’s eyes.
Welch, 31, of Purbrook Way Havant, was taken to court after Tam’s condition was discovered by chance when she ran out of the house and was almost run over by a car on June 17 this year.
The woman driving the car jumped out to check the dog but could not even see the dog’s paws or eyes because the hair was so matted.
Sarah Wheadon, prosecuting, said the vet found Tam was suffering from ‘poor husbandry’ with faeces and urine in the hair and irritation to her corneas from a condition known as dry eye, which had gone untreated for around six months.
Ms Wheadon said in the vet’s opinion it would have taken three months for the dog’s coat to have got in such a sorry state.
‘It certainly had been very uncomfortable for Tam and caused a significant degree of irritation,’ she said.
She added: ‘This was not a condition that could have gone on unnoticed by the owner as it’s very severe and she was giving off a smell.’
Inspector Tina Ward even found the smell from Tam so strong that she found it difficult to breathe when examining the dog, the court heard.
The animal’s skin underneath was in good condition and had no urine scalding.
Graham Hopley, defending, said Welch had taken the dog in after her mother died.
Mr Hopley said Welch had been living with a drinking and drug-taking partner and she would feed her children, get them to school and feed Tam before leaving the house for the day to avoid him.
‘She’s very apologetic,’ he added.
The RSPCA wants Welch to be banned from looking after animals and magistrates will decide this when they sentence next month.
Mr Hopley added: ‘Her first reaction, quite strongly, was “don’t say that to me, my kids will be devastated”.’
He added that the dog was being groomed when it fled the house through an open door.
Tam has been signed over to the RSPCA but Welch has cats, birds and another dog.
Welch, who wept through parts of the case at Portsmouth Magistrates’ Court, pleaded guilty to a charge of causing unnecessary suffering by failing to provide adequate veterinary care and one charge of failing to protect Tam from pain, suffering, injury and disease by failing to adequately groom the dog.