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78-year-old Cork man has been convicted of animal welfare offences

25th February 2024

At Macroom District Court, on Wednesday 21st February 2024, a 78-year-old-man from Ballinacree, Co. Cork admitted to 10 offences under sections 11 and 12 of the Animal Health and Welfare Act (AHWA) 2013.

The court heard evidence from ISPCA Senior Inspector Emma Carroll who described visiting a yard, beside a derelict cottage on 1st July 2022, along with her colleague Inspector Caroline Faherty.

Ms Carroll recounted observing several animals for which she had concerns. These included a male collie dog attached to a stone wall by a heavy chain which was almost hairless and had inflamed and scaly skin. The dog was described as “lifeless”, it was surrounded by its own faeces and had no access to food or water.

A thin and extremely nervous female collie was also found cowering in a pile of rubbish. She was confined by a tangled chain and was unable to move or find shelter.  It was raining heavily, the dog’s coat was saturated, and she was shivering excessively.

The Inspectors discovered another female collie along with her five young nursing puppies in an open shed. The mother was tethered to a wall with a chain so short that she had limited ability to move and was seen frantically pulling against the chain. The bedding in the shed was wet and soiled straw. All the puppies had wet coats due to being exposed to the rain.

Seven ducks were found confined in a cattle trailer. They had no access to daylight, food or water and were living in their own filth. The defendant told the Inspectors that these ducks had been wild, but he had clipped their wings and they had been housed in the trailer for over a year.

The defendant agreed to surrender two collies and the seven ducks, but a further two collies and the five pups were seized by the Inspectors. Instructions were issued regarding the care of other animals in the yard, and a subsequent visit confirmed that the defendant had complied at that time.

The court heard that the defendant was a small-time farmer and trialled sheep dogs. He was normally assisted by his daughter, but she had a baby before events of July 2022 and standards had slipped.

Judge James McNulty convicted the defendant but felt that, given his age, he was not a good candidate for prison. But the Judge said that “he must pay a price for neglecting the animals in his care”. He fined the defendant €1,000 and imposed an order disqualifying him for life from keeping any animals with the exception of 20 or less sheep, 1 working sheepdog and 1 donkey. 30 days were given to comply with the order. Judge McNulty also ordered forfeiture of the seized dogs to the ISPCA.

“This conviction should serve as a reminder that ownership and power over an animal is a privilege, and it comes with the responsibility to protect, cherish and never betray their trust”, commented Senior Inspector Carroll, “the loyalty of working dogs such as sheepdogs is unwavering, it's the owner’s duty to ensure their welfare matches their devotion”.

The ISPCA work tirelessly to remove animals from terrible situations just like this one and we need your support now more than ever before.  A kind donation will help the ISPCA continue to rescue and care for neglected, abused, and cruelly treated animals, and find them loving new homes.  If you can, please donate today online here.  Thank you.

Please continue to report any animal welfare concerns to the ISPCA’s National Animal Cruelty Helpline on 0818 515 515, report online here, or email helpline@ispca.ie to help us put an end to animal cruelty.

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