A WALLASEY couple who let their dog's fur become so matted she was unable to walk properly have been banned from keeping animals for 15 years.

Michael Esmond Bennett, 63 and Susan Jones, 59, of Beechwood Avenue appeared at Wirral Magistrates' Court on Thursday, January 10 and pleaded guilty to two charges of causing unnecessary suffering to a 12-year-old shih-tzu called Molly.

The dog was rescued by the RSPCA after an anonymous report was received concerning the dog's welfare.

Inspector Anthony Joynes was then sent to investigate on October 2, 2018 and said that he was 'shocked' by the terrible state she had been left in.

Insp Joynes said: “We received a report about the dog’s condition following a fire in the street which meant the house where she lived was evacuated and a concerned member of the public spotted her poor condition.

“When I went to the property I was so shocked - I honestly could not tell where her mouth was and where her back end was.

"Then I picked her up and could see weeks of faeces stuck in her matted fur at the back.

“The matting was so bad round her paws it meant she struggled to walk and there was a chin strap matt around her mouth which meant she was unable to open it properly which would have made eating and drinking very difficult.

“The fur growth had also caused a chronic eye condition which was also causing the dog a lot of discomfort.

"She also had a bad case of fleas which she was unable to scratch

“It was the worst case of matting I have seen in my nine years as an inspector.”

Wirral Globe: Molly after her treatment

The couple signed to dog over into the care of the RSPCA and Molly was taken to Upton Veterinary Surgery for emergency treatment.

On assessment, staff could see Molly was unable to walk properly because her fur had grown around her front paw pad - making it grow the wrong way.

The team got through three sets of clipper blades to cut off two kilograms of her matted coat.

After five hours of shaving, Molly was found to have a deformed front paw but an x-ray revealed her back legs were in a good condition.

Insp Joynes added: “We were really worried that under all the matted fur we may find more serious concerns.

"Often in these cases the matting can cut off circulation which can result in multiple limb amputation.

“We didn’t know if this would be the case for Molly and fortunately it wasn’t.”

The couple were handed a 15-year ban on keeping animals the couple were also ordered to be under curfew from 7am until 7pm for three months and have to pay £200 each.

In mitigation, the court was told that the couple had ill health and were struggling to cope with the dog.

They had an appointment booked with the PDSA charity a year before to have Molly groomed but they did not attend as they said they were 'worried' the dog would get taken off them.

Molly has since been rehomed and even featured on Channel 5's The Dog Rescuers on Boxing Day.