Southampton Dog Owner Guilty of Cruelty

16 October 2013, 07:09 | Updated: 17 October 2013, 16:09

The RSPCA is asking owners of long-haired dogs to keep them groomed after a shih-tzu suffered skin ulcerations when her legs were left with severely matted fur.

Cindy, a 12-year-old black and white dog, was found in March 2013. All of her legs were covered in matted fur but the worst was her right fore leg which had such hard matting that it had rubbed on the skin, causing ulceration. The wound had then become infected. 

Cindy was also suffering from ‘dry eye’ condition that had not been treated and caused her eyelids to stick to her eyeballs. She had overgrown claws, some of which were growing into her pads. Cindy was also unable to weight bear on her right leg, holding it in the air. 

RSPCA inspector Patrick Bailey took Cindy to the vets who found that she would have suffered for about two weeks, although the matting would have taken months to become so serious. 

Cindy’s owner, Lorraine Jepsen (23/8/67) of Coxford Road, Southampton, was found guilty of two charges of causing unnecessary suffering and two of failing to meet the dog’s needs. She was given a nine-month community order and ordered to pay £800 costs by West Hampshire Magistrates’ Court on 11 October. 

She said she didn’t realise that Cindy was suffering. 

Inspector Bailey said: 

“Cindy was clearly in pain and you could smell the infected wound – the hair was so hard on her leg it was like a plaster cast. She should never have been allowed to become so matted and at the very least should have seen a vet for her leg and eye problems. 

“She has lived with a fosterer for the past six months and is a changed dog – she’s no longer timid and reclusive, but a confident, lively little dog. 

“Long-haired dogs like shih-tzus have become very popular in recent years, but owners should be aware that you have to check them daily for tangles and get them used to grooming. It is not acceptable to leave them until they suffer.” 

For more information about dog grooming, please visit