A woman was left 'sick' when she found a dog in the park that had been so badly neglected a vet couldn't even identify her breed.
The RSPCA has launched an investigation after the dog – who went through 'years of suffering' – was abandoned at Thirlmere Park in Anfield, Liverpool.
The dog was found crawling with maggots and had been so badly treated that the woman who found her thought she was a pile of rags, the Liverpool Echo reports.
Vets couldn't even identify the breed because of the 'shocking state' she was left in. However, they now believe that she's a shih tzu breed.
The vet couldn't figure out the dog's age, either, because they could not open her mouth to check her teeth, due to matted fur covering her face.
The animal was found at around 7pm last Tuesday [July 27] and a passerby took her to a nearby vet, who made the decision to put the dog to sleep to end her suffering.
The woman who found the dog, who did not want to be named, said: "I just saw two young children saying: ‘I think it is dead’ which drew my attention to something but I had no idea it was a dog as it looked like a pile of rags.
"I wrapped her in a blanket and tried to give her some water – she was breathing but not moving.
"I called the vets and they told me to take her straight in. I actually thought she had passed away in my car on the way.
"I was so upset and shaking. I still feel sick and tearful thinking about this poor dog – it was horrific. I really hope someone knows who is responsible."
The vets reported the matter to the RSPCA and Inspector Lisa Lupson is now investigating. She is keen to trace anyone who may know who owned the poor pet and left it to suffer.
Lisa said: "This dog has clearly endured years of suffering and I have never seen such a terrible case of matting in my time as an RSPCA inspector.
"Sadly the photograph speaks a thousand words and the dog even looks as though it has more than four legs but it is matted fur which has grown into long and heavy pieces.
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"You can just make out her eye near the green buttons on the vet’s table. "There were maggots crawling on the fur which could have been from a wound underneath the matts or from all the faeces which had built up in her coat over a prolonged period.
"She was in an absolutely horrific state and I have found it terribly upsetting to deal with this case.
"I am now hoping someone will know the person who owned this dog and allowed her to suffer so terribly before callously dumping her to die a lingering death.
"I am just so grateful to the person who found her and took her to the vets and was able to give her some comfort before she passed away.
"I am also keen to hear from anyone who may have seen anything suspicious in the area prior to when she was found."
Anyone with information on this dog or any other animals suspected of abuse or neglect should call the RSPCA appeals line on 0300 123 8018.
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