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Friday, February 3, 2012

Cruel couple facing jail for 'appalling' neglect of sheepdog which became trapped in its own matted hair and had to be put down

-David and Marjorie Massey guilty of causing unnecessary suffering
-'Woody' had two-inch toe nails, chronic infections and a tumour in his mouth

By Graham Smith

Facing jail: David and Marjorie Massey admitted two counts of causing unnecessary suffering to their five-year-old sheep dog Woody

A cruel couple were facing jail today after admitted the 'appalling' neglect of a sheepdog which became trapped in a two-stone tangled ball of its own hair because they were too embarrassed to go to a vet.

David and Marjorie Massey admitted two counts of causing unnecessary suffering to five-year-old sheepdog Woody after animal cruelty officers said the treatment he suffered was 'incomprehensible'.

The owners, from Beeston, Bedfordshire, felt too ashamed to take their pet for treatment despite his mangy coat, painful two-inch toenails, chronic eye and ear infections and an untreated tumour in his mouth.

In bad shape: Emma Midgley helps Woody - who was renamed Floyd - after he arrived at an animal charity following severe neglect

Woody, as he was then known, was dumped at an animal shelter where carers cut his mound of filthy hair, which made it almost impossible for him to see, hear or go to the toilet.

They also gave him the name of Floyd.

Bedford Magistrate’s Court heard it had taken four workers more than an hour to free Floyd from his mangy cocoon and underneath his body was covered in cysts and sores.

Despite their efforts the animal was so distressed vets were forced put him down.
Magistrates today warned David Massey, 62, and Marjorie Massey, 60, they face jail sentences for their cruelty.

Chair of the bench, Dr Disney-Durrant said: 'Because of the length of abuse in this case I have to warn you we will be considering a custodial sentence.'

The Masseys were investigated by the RSPCA after Woody was left tied to a gate at Wood Green animal shelter in Cambridgeshire in August last year.

Mr and Mrs Massey had owned the dog since he was a puppy and said that up until a year ago he had always been groomed and well cared for.

During interviews with an RSPCA inspector, Mr Massey claimed that he did not know that Woody had any problems in his mouth and ears, the court heard.

He also said that he recognised that he should have taken the animal to a vet but that he had become too embarrassed by his condition to get him treated.

'Incomprehensible': Floyd undergoes emergency treatment at the animal charity

Floyd after he was trimmed of two stone of fur and his two-inch long nails had been clipped. But he was still too ill and had to be put down

Mrs Massey told the inspector that they had used a professional groomer in the past but that they reached a point where they could no longer afford it and that any neglect was due to a lack of money.

Mark Bellis, defending, admitted that the couple had previously owned two other old English sheep dogs and were 'aware of what was required in keeping the breed'.

He claimed that the problems began when the groomer they had been using moved away and the Masseys were forced to find another.

They claim that as Woody got older his temperament became more aggressive and it became impossible to find a groomer who could get near him.

Mr Bellis said: 'They got to a stage where the condition of Woody embarrassed them so much they couldn't face taking him to see anyone.'

Degrading: Woody's mound of filthy hair (left) made it almost impossible for him to see, hear or go to the toilet. A sheepdog as it should look (right)

It was only when the couple’s adult daughter decided to move back into the family home, bringing her young daughter with her, that the Masseys decided they had to get rid of Woody.

Mr Massey told the court it was his decision to take Woody to the animal shelter in the middle of the night and that he called both the police and the RSPCA to tell them where Woody was.

Janita Patel, prosecuting, asked the magistrates to consider a disqualification order which would ban the couple from keeping any animals for life.

RSPCA chief inspector Mark Thompson echoed her disgust.

He 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.'

The case was adjourned for sentencing until February 8.



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