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Westmeath woman fined after pleading guilty to 25 charges under Animal Health and Welfare Act

17 SEPTEMBER 2018

*Warning: Graphic images may cause upset

A woman pleaded guilty to 25 offences under the Animal Health and Welfare Act 2013 in Mullingar District Court earlier this month. The charges included causing unnecessary suffering to a number of animals on her property, as well as neglect and recklessness with regard to the animals’ welfare. 

The woman, age 55, was fined €1,500 on one charge and Judge Seamus Hughes also ordered her to pay an additional €1,000 towards costs of the investigation. The other 24 charges to which she pleaded guilty were taken into consideration.

The ISPCA visited the property in March 2017 to find dogs of various breeds, a number of fowl, a Rhea bird (a flightless bird native to South America which is distantly related to the ostrich and emu), a rare breed of pig, and a pony living in dirty, overcrowded and sub-standard conditions.

Twenty dogs were removed and transported to the ISPCA National Animal Centre to undergo vet assessment and treatment.

ISPCA Inspectors made several visits to the property and collaborated with the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine as well as the National Parks and Wildlife Service to ensure that all animal welfare issues were addressed.

The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine brought the prosecution, represented by Helen Johnson BL.

In addition to the financial penalties, Judge Seamus Hughes also imposed an order under Section 58 of the AHWA which restricts the number and type of animals the woman may keep. She cannot replace any animals without the written consent of the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine. 

The court heard that the woman had run a rescue centre on her property up to 2007/2008. She was represented by Patricia Cronin, Solicitor.

ISPCA Chief Inspector Conor Dowling said:  “In this case the owner had accumulated a large number of animals, more than she had the facilities to adequately care for. Whatever the circumstances, animal neglect will simply not be tolerated. This case is one of a number involving the cooperation between the ISPCA and the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine”.

The ISPCA is calling on the government to introduce mandatory minimum animal welfare standards for all animal rescue organisations which would include registration and licensing.

Members of the public should continue to report animal welfare concerns to the ISPCA by contacting the National Animal Cruelty Helpline on 1890 515 515 or report cruelty via our online form.

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