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Woman found guilty of offences under the Animal Health and Welfare Act 2013

On Tuesday 3rd January 2017, in Newcastle West District Court, a Limerick woman was convicted of offences under sections 11 and 12 of the Animal Health and Welfare Act 2013. The case related to a visit made by ISPCA Inspector David Walsh to the defendant’s property on 16th February 2016.

Mr Walsh gave evidence to the court of how he viewed a Bassett Hound type dog in the back garden of the dwelling house. He described seeing the dog with its mouth taped tightly with packaging tape. He said the dog was whimpering and was scratching at the tape with its paws in an attempt to dislodge the binding.  He noted that the dog was in a stressed state.

He gave evidence that he subsequently interviewed the woman under caution where she admitted that she had taped the dog’s mouth because she had no proper muzzle to put on the dog. Hee told the Court that the Defendant informed him that the basset hound was attacking another dog and, in the absence of a muzzle, she had to tape its mouth.

Giving evidence, the woman admitted that she taped the dog’s mouth but claimed that this was a temporary measure to allow her to go down the town in Croom and buy a muzzle.  She disagreed with prosecuting counsel that she could have removed the basset hound from the back garden to some place in the house to give her time to buy a proper muzzle, rather than taping the dog’s mouth and causing the animal considerable distress and discomfort. 

Although the case was contested, having heard all of the evidence, Judge Mary Larkin was satisfied to convict and imposed a fine of €250 in respect of each summons.  She also ordered that the woman pay costs of €250 to the ISPCA.

The ISPCA believes that animal cruelty should not be tolerated. Pet owners have a legal responsibility to care for their pets appropriately and, if they fail in this responsibility, they are liable to be prosecuted.

Members of the public should report animal welfare concerns to the ISPCA by contacting the National Animal Cruelty Helpline on 1890 515 515 or report online in confidence here.

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