In what one rescuers called the worst case of animal cruelty he’d ever seen, a severely neglected Shih Tzu was found mangled beyond recognition in an apartment in Londonberry, New Hampshire.

Nobody knows how long the dog had been left alone by the time the landlord entered the apartment, which they believed to be vacant. The dog suffered such severe infections that she had gone blind and deaf, and her thick coat of fur was almost completely matted.

The suffering animal had a dislocated knee, and was stumbling into walls as she searched the ground for something — anything — to eat.

Two women were identified as tenants of the apartment, though it’s unclear if they were still living there. Both women — Jennifer Moscardini and Jada Demas — turned themselves in to police and now face animal cruelty charges as well as citations for lack of registration and vaccination of the dog.

After the rescue, the Shih Tzu was given a badly needed haircut, and she began to look like a dog again — but it will take far longer for her sores to heal, and she will never again be able to see or hear.

This dog’s suffering was needless, to say the least. Pet owners who cannot care for their animals have an obligation to take them to a rescue shelter — preferably a no-kill shelter — and not just leave them to waste away. With the high demand for Shih Tzus, in particular, this dog would have had little problem gaining a forever home with a family that would show her the love she deserves.

Hopefully she will still find a loving home, despite the medical problems that came from her tragic neglect.