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Tipperary man sentenced to four months imprisonment and disqualified for life from keeping dogs

2nd February 2024

At Cashel District Court, on Thursday 18th January 2024, a man from Coolagarranroe, Burncourt, Cahir, Co. Tipperary was sentenced to a four-month prison sentence in respect of each of two charges under section 12 of the Animal Health and Welfare Act 2013 (AHWA), on which he was convicted, both terms to run concurrently. The Court also imposed a lifetime ban on the man having a dog.

His wife, of the same address, was also convicted under section 11 of the AHWA. She was fined €400 and disqualified for 10 years from having dogs, save for one dog which she already had in her possession.

The court heard evidence from ISPCA Senior Inspector Alice Lacey who described first calling to the home of the accused parties, alongside Senior Inspector Emma Carroll, on Wednesday 10th August 2022, and finding 13 dogs - including a Belgian Malinois, a Belgian Shepherd, a Springer Spaniel, a Beagle, and a number of terriers – some of which were living in in small, rundown pens and others which were chained, some on very short chains.

Many of the dogs were of extremely poor body weight and several ailments were noted including skin conditions, lice infestation and dental disease. The odour emanating from some of the dogs’ coats and skin was putrid. Three Kerry blue terriers were found to be in particularly bad condition and one female wire-haired terrier was found to be pregnant. Despite the fact that it was a very warm day, some dogs were without access to drinking water. All 13 dogs were surrendered and taken into ISPCA care.

Senior Inspector Lacey further described to the court how, on a subsequent visit to the same home on Thursday 16th March 2023, a further 10 dogs – two Springer Spaniels, a hairy Whippet, a Cocker Spaniel and a number of terriers – were found in sub-standard and dirty living conditions. An array of ailments was again noted including mange, alopecia, conjunctivitis of the eyes, dental disease and matted, dirty coats. One dog had a horrific, untreated lower jaw injury and another was of extremely poor body weight. All these dogs were also removed.

Judge Brian O’Shea commented that the case was “entirely inhumane” and “didn’t happen overnight but developed over time”. Noting that there was not only one inspection by the ISPCA to the property, but two inspections, he said that the situation was “allowed to deteriorate – with nothing done about it”.

On passing sentence, Judge O’Shea stated that the case was “truly shocking” and warranted “an immediate custodial sentence”. He felt that the male accused was the “main player” in this “enterprise” and sentenced him to four months imprisonment.

Reflecting on the case, Senior Inspector Lacey said “An aggravating factor with this case is that it entailed two visits to the same property, with animals being removed on both occasions for various welfare issues in both 2022 and 2023. A lot of time, effort, commitment, and care went into getting these dogs rehabilitated and back to full health. I can't stress enough the legal responsibility a person places on themselves when they choose to have an animal in their care. And it goes without saying, we should always remember a responsibility to be compassionate and kind to animals who solely look to us to be their caregivers and guardians. We should not let them down".

The ISPCA work hard to remove animals from terrible situations like this one and need 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.

Pictured above is Santo, one of the rescued dogs now living his best life.

To report any animal welfare concerns, please call the ISPCA’s National Animal Cruelty Helpline on 0818 515 515, report online here or email helpline@ispca.ie.

Pictured above is Abbie the cocker spaniel, now living her best life with her new best friend.

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