On Thursday 19th January 2023, at Cashel District Court, three members of the same family received a total of 13 months in jail sentences, after pleading guilty to a combined eight charges, under the Animal Health and Welfare Act (AHWA) 2013.
Three family members person A aged 27, person B aged 43 and person C aged 71 admitted the offences under sections 11, 12 and 13 of the AHWA, in relation to 17 dogs and 10 puppies that were removed from properties and land at Ballinunty, Co. Tipperary on Wednesday 26th May and Friday 4th June 2021. The dogs included Lurchers, Salukis, Belgian Malinois, a Greyhound, a German Shepherd, and a Chihuahua.
ISPCA Senior Inspectors Alice Lacey and Emma Carroll visited the property, along with members of An Garda Síochána. A large number of dogs and puppies were discovered to be in varying degrees of neglect, both physically and regarding their living conditions, and lack of clean drinking water.
The court heard that many of the dogs were chained at the dwelling house and at an abandoned building close by. The living conditions for some of the dogs consisted of a metal cage, a cattle trailer, and an open-ended corrugated shed. One dog was found to be tied to a tree in forestry behind the dwelling house. Most of the dogs were without clean drinking water and had extremely poor body conditions. One of the Lurcher dogs removed had an old leg fracture, a female Lurcher was heavily pregnant and severely underweight, an emaciated Greyhound, a Belgian Malinois dog had an injured neck due to the chain embedding in its skin. In addition, many dogs were found to be suffering from parasitic disease and untreated wounds.
Person C was sentenced to one-month imprisonment on each of three charges with the sentences to run consecutively, Person A was sentenced to two months imprisonment on each of two charges to run consecutively and Person B, who did not enter an early guilty plea, received two-month sentences on each of three charges, the sentences to run consecutively.
In addition, Judge Brian O’Shea imposed 25-year disqualifications from keeping all animals on all three defendants and ordered that they pay a total of €9,190 in costs. Forfeiture of two dogs seized at the time of the offences was also ordered.
On passing sentence, Judge O’Shea commented: “The three accused stand before the court. The evidence was set out by Inspector Lacey. This is a serious case of animal cruelty. Inspector Lacey’s evidence was cadent and frank. She gave stark, detailed, and accurate evidence. These dogs were living in conditions, as the saying goes, “not fit for a dog to live in”. The accused had no regard for animals or their welfare. Many of the animals needed veterinary attention but were left aggrievedly waiting. These dogs were starving, thirsty, living in urine and faeces. This case lies in the upper range of gravity. The accused turned a blind eye, and this didn’t happen overnight. The cruelty was long-term and ongoing, and the harm was significant. The aggravating factors include the sheer scale of cruelty and the number of animals removed. Person C had entered an early guilty plea, but I can’t attach the same weight to Person B as he entered a late plea of guilty. I take into account family commitments and health issues, but this case is egregious”.
ISPCA Senior Inspector Alice Lacey said: “Reflecting on this case, it was one of the worst cruelty cases that my colleague and I have dealt with. A total of 27 dogs were rescued, all in varying levels of neglect. One dog, in particular, was Ed, he was on the brink of death, and it was a miracle he was still alive. The welfare of these dogs had declined over a prolonged period, which culminated in a multitude of animal welfare issues that led to their removal and were brought into ISPCA care. It was extremely disheartening to think that these animals were left without their most basic needs”.
Alice added: “This case should lead as an example that there will be serious repercussions for anyone who chooses to neglect or treat animals in this manner, because we always have a choice. When we choose to bring an animal into our lives, we take on the responsibility, commitment, and legal obligation, which should never be underestimated or minimised in its importance”.
The ISPCA are currently ensuring these animals are now well looked after and getting the proper treatment they need to lead fulfilling lives.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org or report online here.
If you missed ISPCA Senior Inspector, Alice Lacey’s radio interview on Tipp FM yesterday, you can tune in here:
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