David Morris and his wife Susan Morris from Grimsby are guilty of causing unnecessary sufferance to their dog Fifi
A dog had to be clipped from “head to toe” after being found with “thousands and thousands” of flees and with such badly matted fur that he wasn’t even able to scratch his itches.
Fifi, a male Shih-Tzu, was also found to have eye and skin problems when checked on by an RSPCA inspector at his home in Grisby.
The dog may have been infested with the flees for up to two years in what his his vet said was the worst flee infection he had ever seen, Grimsby Live reports.
Fifi ultimately had to be put down due to an unrelated issue.
David Morris, 50, and his wife, Susan Morris, 53, of Southland Court, Grimsby, denied three offences of causing unnecessary suffering to a dog but were convicted after a trial
No veterinary help was called in – this could have been because the couple who owned the dog could not afford the cost of it, a court heard.
In a tragic twist, he later had to be put down due to another problem.
Gordon Holt, prosecuting for the RSPCA, told Grimsby magistrates that an inspector visited the couple’s home on January 27 last year and examined the dog, a Shih-Tzu aged nine or ten. Despite being male, it was called fifi
The dog’s fur was badly matted, it had a fleas infection and it had a dry eye problem.
“Those conditions were causing suffering to the dog,” said Mr Holt.
“The owners should have taken the dog to a vet based on what they could see of its condition.
“There was clear evidence that there was suffering to this animal and it had been going on for some time,” said Mr Holt.
There were “thousands and thousands” of fleas and the infestation would have been there for about two years.
This dog was riddled with fleas,” added Mr Holt.
Police seized the dog and it was taken to the Blue Cross Animal Hospital, Grimsby , where a vet clipped it “from head to toe” to get rid of the matting.
The dog would have been unable to scratch itches because of the matting and the flea bites would have been painful.
“The vet believed Fifi had been caused unnecessary suffering,” said Mr Holt.
The vet said: “I have never seen a flea infection that was so bad. Fleas were visible on every part of his body.”
Twenty fleas escaped from a square inch of the dog’s skin and there were fleas around the eyes and neck.
The dog was put down six months later, in June, because of a suspected central nervous problem.
David Morris later said of the dog: “I rescued him off the street. I have had him six or seven years.
“I feel we have rescued Fifi from certain death on the day I rescued him.
“I have not been cruel but possibly I have been stupid. I am bereft if my dog has suffered.”
Susan Morris claimed she did not notice the skin and eye conditions but bathed the dog sometimes for fleas.
Defence barrister Hywel Davies claimed: “There were no signs of discomfort or suffering. They were not to know.
“Nothing there warrants a trip to the vet’s.”
Ex-window cleaner David Morris, a trained nurse for 18 years, told the court that he found the stray dog on the streets.
Part of the reason he did not alert a vet was that he feared that it would turn out to be microchipped and “would be taken back to that awful place” where he believed it had been cruelly treated.
The prosecution claimed that the real reason was that the couple could not afford vet’s bills.
He claimed that he did not see any eye or skin problems.
“I never noticed any problems,” he said.
“I didn’t think it was causing him any discomfort. It didn’t seem to bother him.
“We knew there were fleas. We must have used every flea shampoo, flea powder that was available.
“If a new flea product came out, we used it. It seemed to reduce them to some extent.
“He didn’t seem to be bothered by having them. He didn’t whine and didn’t scratch unduly.
“He just seemed a happy little dog.”
There was no cause for them to have concern about the dog suffering at any time.
“If he had, he would have been taken to a vet immediately,” claimed Morris.
“I didn’t think he was suffering in any way.”
Susan Morris told the court: “He was just fine. I used to give him baths.
“I saw a few fleas on him but I was treating it, sometimes two, three times a week. It got better.
“He was just like a normal dog. He wasn’t suffering at all.”
Sentence on the couple was adjourned for reports and they were allowed bail.