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Waterford woman receives lifetime ban on owning any dogs

12th June 2019


At Waterford District Court, a woman with an address in Waterford City was convicted of two offences under the Animal Health and Welfare Act 2013 (AHWA) on 20th May 2019. The defendant admitted to causing unnecessary suffering and failing to provide sufficient quantity of wholesome and uncontaminated drinking water to a German shepherd dog.

The woman was given a lifetime ban on owning any dogs, a four month prison sentense suspended and ordered to pay €1,665 in costs including €557.58 in vet fees.


The case originated from a complaint made to the ISPCA in May 2018 by a concerned member of the public about a dog kept in poor condition.

ISPCA Inspector Alice Lacey investigated the call to discover a ten month old male German shepherd dog kept in the garden of the property in an emaciated condition and missing hair from most areas of its body. 


Inspector Lacey described how there was an overbearing odour coming from the dog’s skin due to the severe skin condition from which it was suffering.  There was also no visible food or water bowls present. 

Under caution, the owner admitted that she had not sought veterinary treatment for the dog’s skin condition and agreed to sign the dog over into the care of the ISPCA.

The dog, later called Rocco was transported to the nearby City Vets in Waterford City where he was urgently assessed and treated by a vet.  Rocco was suffering from severe sarcoptic mange, he had ear mites and a high temperature.  Once he was responding to treatment he was transferred to the Waterford SPCA for care and rehabilitation.

ISPCA Inspector Alice Lacey said:  “It took several months of rehabilitation to treat Rocco for a skin condition that could have been prevented by regular parasite treatment.  He is such a beautiful natured young dog and it was totally unacceptable to find him in this situation at such a young stage in his life.  There is simply no excuse for failing to provide the very basic level of care which would have prevented unnecessary suffering”.

Judge Kevin Staunton said: “I am absolutely appalled at the photos of this dog, the worst I have seen. To think this dog was only ten months old when taken in by the ISPCA. In the photos he looks like an elderly dog at the end of his life. This case is, in my opinion, on the upper scale of seriousness”.


Thanks to ISPCA affiliated member Waterford SPCA for co-funding an animal welfare Inspector to cover Waterford and South Tipperary.  Without this support, the ISPCA could not have increased our coverage to 17 counties in Ireland. 

Please find our Inspectorate Report 2018 here where two of the cases highlighted were brought before the courts by ISPCA Inspector Lacey.

This case highlights the impact that ISPCA Inspectors are having on animals who need our help to alleviate their suffering.  The ISPCA is reminding pet owners of their legal responsibility to safeguard the welfare of animals in their care under the AHWA 2013 and encourages members of the public to continue to report any animal welfare concerns online or by contacting the National Animal Cruelty Helpline on 1890 515 515.

You can help the ISPCA continue this vital work by making a kind donation here to help animals suffering now. 

Thank you.

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