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A Laois woman has been disqualified from keeping dogs

5th February 2024

At Portlaoise District Court, a woman from Derrymore, Portarlington, Co Laois was convicted of eight charges under sections 11, 12, 13 and 16 of the Animal Health and Welfare Act 2013 (AHWA) on Friday 19th January 2024. The charges related to a female Lurcher dog, and a terrier type puppy found on her property during an inspection by ISPCA Inspector James McCormack on Friday 6th May 2022.

The court had previously heard evidence on the matter on 15th December last, when the defendant was not in attendance as she was unwell.

On that date ISPCA Inspector James McCormack described to the Court how he found the black pup in a metal wire crate at the back of the house. There was a cable tie attached to its tail and the pup was saturated with no protection from the elements and no resting area. The Lurcher, along with her six pups aged around six weeks, were in a pen at the bottom of the yard. The conditions were filthy and the Lurcher was extremely thin with her ribs very prominent. There was no food or clean water evident in the pen.

Inspector McCormack provided photographs which Judge Cody remarked were very stark and shocking in content. Mr McCormack stated that the accused claimed that one of the dogs had only arrived just two weeks before and that the terrier had only arrived at her house the night before the inspection.  Under questioning from the Judge, Mr McCormack confirmed that he did not accept this to be truthful.

The court heard from the statement of evidence of Ann Neville, a veterinary surgeon. She had examined the female lurcher and assigned her a body condition score of 1/5 which is the lowest score possible and was of the view that the dog was emaciated. Evidence was also read from a vet who examined the small black terrier. While no permanent damage was caused where a cable tie had been fixed on the pup’s tail, the tail was very tender with swelling as a result and required pain relieving medication.

A bench warrant was issued for the accused’s arrest and, when she appeared by arrangement on 19th January, Judge Cody convicted the defendant and imposed a three month prison sentence suspended for a period of five years. In addition, she was disqualified from having a dog for a period of 10 years and ordered to pay total costs of €3,863.72, comprising €2,018.72 for investigation/veterinary fees and €1,845.00 in prosecution fees.

Reflecting on the case Inspector McCormack said “These dogs suffered out of pure neglect. For a young dog to have a cable tie attached to its tail was a barbaric act. The female lurcher was so badly emaciated and to think that simply feeding her could have prevented her suffering. Animals are so loyal and deserve our care in return.  We in the ISPCA will continue to be their voice and will seek justice in the courts in instances of cruelty”.

The ISPCA encourages members of the public to continue to report any animal welfare concerns to the National Animal Cruelty Helpline in confidence on 0818 515 515, email or report online here.

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