Two Essex dog groomers have been found guilty of causing unnecessary suffering to a dog, after the animal was left to burn under an industrial hairdryer.

Two Essex dog groomers have been found guilty of causing unnecessary suffering to a dog, after the animal was left to burn under an industrial hairdryer.

Dusty at the vet after he had been burnedThe dog, a Lhasa Apso named Dusty, was euthanised following the incident and the RSPCA has now called for the grooming industry to be licensed.

Neither Jacqueline Ward, the owner of the dog parlour, or employee Victoria Ellis, were qualified dog groomers at the time of the incident.

Ward, 44, of Little Bentley, Basildon, and Ellis, 38, of Scott Road, Chadwell St Mary, were found guilty in their absence at a hearing at Basildon Magistrates’ Court on January 11, 2013.

They were each ordered to do 120 hours of community service and fined £1,000, with £250 to be paid to the dog’s owner in compensation.

The court heard how 12-year-old Dusty was taken to Ward’s former business in Towers Road, Grays, in July 2012 and, after he was bathed and clipped, Ellis left him in a metal dog crate with an industrial dog hairdryer pointing at him. Ellis went away to answer the phone before returning to find Dusty suffering from burns. 

Dusty’s owner was told he had received a small burn from the dryer and was advised to put cream on it. He was taken to a vet but deteriorated in the following days and had to be euthanised.

RSPCA inspector Lewis Taylor said:  “This was a horrific case that could so easily have been prevented had Dusty not been left unattended. Although such cases aren’t deliberate, owners entrust the care of their beloved animals to dog groomers and deserve to know they are leaving their pet in safe hands.”

RSPCA head of public affairs David BowlesAccording to the charity, Dusty’s case is the fourth of a dog being badly burned at a grooming parlour, and the organisation is calling for tighter regulation of the grooming industry.

David Bowles, head of public affairs at the RSPCA, said:  “These cases are all very sad – owners are taking their pets to groomers without the security of knowing how safe their animals are.

“We are calling for the licensing of dog grooming. Without this, pet owners simply cannot be sure they are leaving their dog in safety.

“Until we have regulation, it is important owners thoroughly research their choice of groomer to ensure they can meet their animal’s needs. Owners should consider visiting the facility first and ensuring that staff are qualified and competent.”

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