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Cork couple convicted of animal cruelty

7th March 2024

A couple from County Cork were banned from owning dogs for 10 years, fined €1,000, and ordered to pay total costs of over €3000 after being convicted of animal cruelty, on Tuesday 20th February 2024, at Mallow District Court.

The defendants had admitted ten offences each under sections 11, 12, 13 and 19 of the Animal Health and Welfare Act 2013 (AHWA), at a previous sitting on 28th November 2023. The charges were in connection with two West Highland Terriers, named Hunter and Muttley, removed from the defendants’ house by the ISPCA on 19th of September 2022.  

In November, ISPCA Animal Welfare Inspector Caroline Faherty told the court that she responded to a report from a member of the public to find the dogs in an extremely matted state and living in a pen full of faeces. She said that it was obvious from grass growing around the pen that the dogs hadn’t been let out in a very long time. The dogs had to be lifted out of the pen as the door couldn’t be opened.

ISPCA Inspector Faherty told how, under caution, the woman admitted that the dogs hadn’t been out in years and that they were being fed and watered from the house out through a window. The dogs were surrendered and taken for veterinary assessment. They were sedated to be shaved, during which live maggots were found in the urine-soaked hair in one of the dogs.

The case was adjourned pending a probationary report and, on passing sentence this week, Judge Colm Roberts said that he remembered the case well. He recalled that the defendants had a child or children “and the dogs were an inconvenience”. He said that it was a “continued and long-term situation”, and that the behaviour of the defendants was “wilful”.

The Judge said that he had considered imposing a custodial sentence or community service and that, if the defendants had more financial clout, the fines would have been much higher. A condition of the 10-year disqualification order was that the defendants must successfully complete an animal welfare course and submit a certificate to the ISPCA before getting a dog in the future.

Judge Roberts commended on the “significant work” of the ISPCA in protecting animals and putting this case together.

Speaking about the case, ISPCA Animal Welfare Inspector Faherty said: “Hunter and Muttley had to endure atrocious living conditions and it is my view that they would have become seriously ill and died had the ISPCA not been alerted to their plight. I am just glad that I got there in time and was able to see such an immediate improvement in their condition and their lives”.

The ISPCA work tirelessly rescuing animals that need to be removed from the most terrible situations and we need support now more than ever before. A kind donation will help the ISPCA continue to rescue and care for neglected animals and find them new loving homes. If you can, please donate online at 

The ISPCA is encouraging members of the public to continue to report any animal welfare concerns, by calling the ISPCA’s National Animal Cruelty Helpline on 0818 515 515, report online here or email

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