Cases in 2003

Farmer wins appeal on pups shooting sentence

Irish Examiner, 17/1/2003
A farmer who shot two greyhounds pups owned by his neighbour after they worried his cattle successfully appealed at Waterford Circuit Court yesterday (16/01/03) against the severity of a sentence previously imposed on him at the district court.  see more

Irish Examiner, 17/1/2003

An elderly farmer and publican, John Cullen, from Redcross Co.Wicklow, was fined €400 at Rathdrum court yesterday (16/1/03) on one charge of cruelty to animals. Seventeen other charges were taken into consideration. Sgt Martin McAndrew from Avoca, who visited the farm on a number of occasions between March 10 and April 6 last year following complaints told Judge Donnachadh O’Buachalla yesterday that the defendant had paid €4,000 to the Wicklow Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and had paid the vet’s expenses. A previous court was told that Garda McAndrew had found the unburied carcasses of 20 animals some of which have been dead for a couple of weeks.


Pensioner’s bid to save dog ignored as pet shot.

Irish Independent, 29/01/2003

An enraged farmer chased a dog – which he had already wounded – from his field into a neighbour’s yard and then shot the dog beside an elderly lady who was sitting at the back of her car. Judge Flann Brennan was told at Carrickmacross District Court that pensioner Kathleen Marron (70), pleaded with Oliver Byrne (57) from Aghaloughan, near Carrickmacross, not to shoot the dog, which belonged to neighbours. Byrne however dragged the injured animal from underneath the car, where it was hiding, and discharged his shotgun at close range into the dog’s head, beside the woman’s legs. Byrne pleaded guilty to a charge of recklessly discharging the firearm. Garda Inspector Jim Marks said Byrne had admitted shooting the dog. Judge Brennan fined him £100 and bound him to the peace for two years. He also ordered forfeiture of the shotgun and banned him from holding a firearms’ certificate.


Foolish riflemen shot 18 goats dead

Irish Independent, 27/03/2003
Three members of a gun club who admitted shooting dead nearly 20 goats have been ordered to pay €6,000.  see more


Evening Herald, 28/03/2003

Beef farmer, Joe Earley, Castle Manor, Drogheda Co.Louth was sentenced to two year’s imprisonment on six charges relating to use of illegal growth hormones and misuse of cattle identity tags. Det Garda Gerry Nohilly of Mullingar said Earley would use the hormones on other people’s cattle and offered a service where he would provide the cattle and the illegal hormones if they wished. Earley also put false identity tags on cattle so he could claim cash from the Department of Agriculture on them.


Munster Express, 11/04/2003
John O'Connor weekly column

Ancient law invoked against man who shot at crow I have always felt a little nervous and uncomfortable around guns and I think it is only right and proper that the gardai are vigilant when it comes to granting or revoking firearm licences. That said, I thought a young man from County Offaly was rather harshly treated last week when he appeared in court following a complaint made by a member of the public. Garda J.K. Sheehy told Judge Thomas Fitzpatrick that the 20-year-old defendant, who had no previous convictions, pulled his jeep into a gateway at the side of the road before getting out and shooting into the field at the crow. However the driver of another vehicle objected to what was happening and made a complaint to the gardai. Superintendent Charles Devine told the Court the defendant could have been charged under the Public Order Act but it was deemed more appropriate to prosecute him on the lesser charge of 'discharging a weapon within sixty feet of the centre of a public road'. Defence solicitor Bernadette Owens said her client admitted that he had fired at the crow but, because he was in the recess of a gateway, he did not think he was on the public road. As a consequence of his action, the gun had been confiscated and his firearm licence revoked. The Act under which the defendant was prosecuted is the Summary Jurisdiction Act of 1851 which has a maximum fine of ten shillings so Judge Fitzpatrick felt obliged to call a calculator before imposing a fine of 63 cent to be paid forthwith. The court wasn't told why the man shot at the poor old crow in the first place and whether or not the defendant actually hit the bird with his shot.


Irish Examiner, 5/5/2003

(Main parts of the article)

Patsy Costello, aged 63 of Anbally, Crummer, Tuam Co.Galway pleaded guilty to leaving the dead animal (a bull) lying above ground in a field for two weeks. Superintendent Martin Lee told Tuam Co.Galway District Court (3/05/03) the accused had two previous convictions for cruelty to animals and one for assault of a neighbour. Judge John Garavan imposed a fine of €400 and warned that the defendant was lucky not to be going to prison given his previous convictions.


Farmer sent to jail over foot-and-mouth breach

Irish Independent, 20/06/2003

William Cranston of Skerrymore, Drumacrib Co.Monaghan was sentenced to three months imprisonment and fined a total of €7,200 with €2,250 at Castleblayney District Court (19/05/03) after he pleaded guilty to six breaches of regulations during the 2000/2001 foot-and-mouth outbreak. He faced 16 charges brought by the Minister for Agriculture for contravening regulations introduced by the department relating to the movement of livestock between October 24, 2000 and May 5, 2001. Mr.Cranston also faced a number of charges related to breaches of the Bovine TB Order and the Diseases of Animals act on various dates.  Following a guilty plea by Mr.Cranston the judge, Flann Brennan, struck out 10 of the charges, all of which arose as a result of the discovery by department officials of livestock from the North on the accused’s farm in the Republic.


Farmer arrested for animal smuggling

Wicklow People, 24/7/2003

The Dunlavin livestock dealer who hit the headlines when he smuggled sheep from a foot and mouth infected herd into the country has been arrested again, on suspicion of animal smuggling. Fifty three year old John Walsh will appear in a Scottish court this Monday on suspicion of importing animals without a permit and animal cruelty. Forty three puppies and three kittens that were in Walsh’s possession at the time have been taken into care at animal welfare centres in Scotland. Walsh is originally from Calverstown but his family moved to Ballyhurtin Dunlavin many years ago. Walsh was jailed in January 2002 by a Dublin court when he was convicted of smuggling almost 300 sheep, some of which were infected with foot and mouth, into Ireland. His Offaly farm was seized this year by CAB in order to pay a tax bill believed to be in the region of €900,000. 


Nightmare – 36 greyhound trucked 900 miles in one van in 40°C heat on a 38hr journey to hell

The People, 27/07/2003

Dozens of greyhounds were squashed together in 40°C heat for a 38hour trip across Europe.  see more


Two brothers charged with animal cruelty

Irish Time, 25/09/2003

Mervyn Walsh, Ballyvadden, Gorey, Co Wexford appeared at Enniscorthy District Court yesterday having failed to appear on six previous occasions in relation to animal cruelty charges after returning from Kenya following the foot and mouth outbreak. Judge Donnchadh Obuachalla handed down the three month suspended prison sentence and ordered that the defendant is not a fit person to be in control of livestock including sheep. His brother William Walsh of the same address who was present in court having also returned from Kenya was fined €1,000 in relation to an animal cruelty charge. Supt Pat Delaney told the court the cruelty offences took place over two years ago after the defendants’ entire herd had been culled by the DOA. The brothers failed to bury a number of cattle carcases that were left lying on the land, he said.


Dog lost eye over owner’s savage beating

Irish Independent, 26/09/2003

A dog was beaten so savagely with a broom handle by its owner that it had to have one eye removed by a vet, a court heard yesterday.  see more

Cattle ring is smashed.

Sunday World, 05/10/2003

A huge cattle smuggling racket along the border has been smashed. The DOA has discovered that false ear tags are being used for animals being smuggled and offered for sale and that the racketterrs are also using identity cards which don’t belong to animals being sold into the Irish meat chain. A number of farmers and cattle dealers in the border counties of Monaghan, Cavan, Louth and Donegal are being quizzed in connection with the racket.


Fined €10,000 for BSE breach

Evening Herald, 17/10/2003

A farmer has been fined€ 10,000 and given a nine month suspended jail sentence for breaching regulations brought in to prevent the spread of BSE. Peter Stritch of Bellisle, Clonlara, Co Clare, who has previous convictions for livestock offences, was convicted of moving cattle into a restricted herd. Stritch pleaded guilty to ten counts of moving animals into a restricted holding on dates between January 2001 and May 2001. Last may the 37-year-old was fined €25,000 and received a four month suspended sentence after he was convicted of a number of offences, including importing cattle from the north contrary to controls.


Terrier torn apart by free running greyhounds.

Irish Independent, 13/11/2003

A jack Russell terrier named Lucky was torn apart by six greyhounds allowed to run free by their breeder. The revelation came as part-time breeder Anthony O’Mahony (40) was fined and ordered to pay €620 compensation by Cork District Court arising from the events of February 9th last. Judge David Riordan heard that the greyhounds savaged the little dog despite frantic efforts by his owner to protect him. The dog suffered appalling injuries and had to be put down. Gardai traced the greyhounds to Mr O’Mahony of Curraleigh, Inniscarra. Mr O’Mahony paid €150 in compensation to the victim and agreed to pay €140 in witness expenses, Judge Riordan fined him €110 on each of three charges of keeping an unlicensed dog.


€1,000 fine for neglecting animals

Evening Herald, 09/12/2003

A man pleaded guilty to ill-treating two dogs, one of which had two kilos of matted hair when found by the ISPCA. Joseph Murphy, Killinane, Bagenalstown, Co Carlow, appeared before Bagenalstown District Court in relation to two counts of cruelty on a cocker spaniel and a blind under-weight Shihtzu which was subsequently put down. Murphy was ordered to pay €1,000 to the ISPCA and Judge John Coughlan adjourned the case to January 12th for further sentencing.


Evening Herald, 18/12/2003

A man who shot two wild geese near a north Dublin bird sanctuary by “pure accident” for hunting protected wildlife. Gerard McHale (22) of Springvalley, Summerhill, Co. Meath, was fined at Balbriggan District Court for killing the protected Brent geese, contrary to the Wildlife act in an incident at Rogerstown, Lusk, on January 19th 2003. Defence solicitor, Michael A. Regan, said his client did not know the birds were Brent geese when he shot them. “I have shot with him myself and he’s not a very good shot,” Mr. Regan told the court. “He’s fired 15 times at the one bird circling around and missed it every time. He shot these wild geese by pure accident, it must have been suicide. The geese should be up in court for contributory negligence.”


Court bans farmer after starving, dying sheep found.

Irish Independent, 09/01/2003

A West of Ireland farmer neglected his sheep so badly that many of the animals were either dying or were skeletons by the time the Gardai and a vet were alerted. John Corcoran (57) unmarried of Clashaganny, Kiltullagh, Atherny, Co.Galway was ordered by a judge to sell all his sheep and never to engage in any form of sheep farming again after hearing details of what he described as an appalling case of animal cruelty in which excruciating pain had been inflicted. The farmer had told a garda that the cost could not justify him getting a vet for the sheep that were dying of starvation on his 58 acre holding. He was ordered to carry out 200 hours of community service failing that the Judge would impose a 6 month jail sentence. The accused had appeared totally indifferent to the suffering that he had caused….the animals had no feed whatsoever, some were so weak they could not stand, Some were eaten away by dogs, while 20 bales of sileage were rotten and 6 bags of lamb nuts remained unopened.


Cattle trader jailed over illegal tags and growth hormones.

Irish Independent, 28/03/2003

A cattle dealer who put false tags on cattle in order to claim subsidies was jailed for two years yesterday. Dundalk Circuit Criminal Court heard of how Joe Early, Drogheda but originally from Meath had specially adapted vice grips to remove cattle tags and place them on other animals. He was making a profit of around 127e an animal and had been doing this for 2 to 3 years. He used a stolen stamp to certify animals were clear of TB or Brucellosis. He traded between 1500 and 2000 animals but not all would have been tampered with.


Slaughter on a sunny afternoon

Down Democrat, 08/04/2003
Over 100 dead and dying sheep have been discovered on a farm near Maghera.  see more

Pets mutilated on railway tracks

The Star, 13/06/2003
A town has been left shocked after a series of savage attacks on cats and dogs. Two cats were found battered to death in gardens close to railway lines running through Carrick-on-Suir Co.Waterford. Three mutilated dogs were discovered on the tracks and owners of a missing dog and cat in the area fear the worst.

Gardai questioned a number of youths in relation to the attacks on the cats. "The two cats found in gardens were badly beaten. They were kicked to death and stood on," said a garda spokesman. A woman who springer spaniel, Prince, was found mutilated on the railway tracks, said he had been a family pet for eight years. "He just wandered off one day and we never saw him again," she said. "We heard a vet found Prince and another dogs on the railway tracks." We have heard reports of dogs being thrown off the bridges or tied to the tracks."

Local vet Gerry Clancy saw two dogs on the railway tracks. "The springer spaniel was chopped to bits". It was alive but in flitters and we had to put it down on the sport." he said. SPCA spokeswoman Angela Anthony has warned pet owners in the area to be extra vigilant.



Pensioner’s bid to save dog ignored as pet shot

Irish Independent, 29/01/2003

An enraged farmer chased a dog – which he had already wounded – from his field into a neighbour’s yard and then shot the injured animal dead beside an elderly lady who was sitting at the back of her car.

Judge Flann Brennan was told at Carrickmacross District Court (28/01/03) that pensioner Kathleen Marron (70) pleaded with Oliver Byrne (37) from Aghaloughan near Carrickmacross not to shoot the dog which belonged to neighbours. Byrne however dragged the injured animal from underneath the car where it was hiding and discharged the shotgun at close range into the dog’s head, beside the woman’s legs.

Byrne pleaded guilty to a charge of recklessly discharging the firearm. Garda Inspector Jim Marks said Byrne had admitted shooting the dog.

Judge Brenann fined him €100 and bound him to the peace for two years. He also ordered forfeiture of the shotgun and banned him from holding a firearms certificate.



Irish Examiner, 29/01/2003

A farmer who chased a dog he had already wounded with a gunshot into a neighbour’s yard and then shot it dead in front of an elderly woman, a court heard yesterday. Judge Flann Brennan was told pensioner Katheleen Marron, aged 70, who was sitting in a car under which the dog was hiding, pleaded with Oliver Byrne, aged 57, from Aghloughan near Carrickmacross Co. Monaghan, not to shoot it.

However, he dragged the animal out and shot it in the head. Byrne pleaded guilty through defence lawyer Brendan Lareny at Carrickmacross Disttict Court to a charge of recklessly discharging a firearm at the farmyard killing the dog. The accused solicitor said his client’s livestock were being harassed by dogs and this led him to taking such “drastic action” with his legally held shotgun on the occasion. He since regretted taking such a course of action.

Judge Brennan fined him €100 and bound him to the peace for two years. He also ordered forfeiture of the shotgun and banned him from holding a firearms certificate in the future.



Irish Examiner, 17/01/2003

An elderly farmer and publican, John Cullen, from Redcross Co. Wicklow, was fined €400 at Rathdrum court yesterday (16/01/2003) on one charge of cruelty to animals. Seventeen other charges were taken into consideration.

Sgt. Martin McAndrew from Avoca, who visited the farm on a number of occasions between March 10 and April 6 last year following complaints told Judge Donnachadh O’Buachalla yesterday that the defendant had paid €4,000 to the Wicklow Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and had paid the vet’s expenses.

A previous court was told that Garda McAndrew had found the unburied carcasses of 20 animals some of which has been dead for a couple of weeks.



Farmer wins appeal on pups shooting sentence

Irish Examiner, 17/01/2003

a farmer who shot two greyhounds pups owned by his neighbour after 3)they worried his cattle successfully appealed at Waterford Circuit Court yesterday (16/03/2001) against the severity of a sentence previously imposed on him at the district court.

Nicholas Kenneally, Smartcastle, Kilmacow Co. Kilkenny has received a three-month suspended sentence and was fined €700 for cruelty, ill-treating the 15-week-old pups on July 6, 2001. Bernard Fox said he had more than 20 greyhounds and that there was “bad blood” between the two families. One of the pups died and the other had to be put down later. Veterinary surgeon George Kinsella said the pups were in a state of complete collapse after the incident with up to 20 pellets under their skin.

Mr. Kenneally said he saw 25 to 30 of his cattle excited and running with three dogs chasing them and swinging from their tails. The cattle ran through wire fences and gate and the farmer said he had no alternative but to get the gun and fire at the dogs. He said for the last 10 years he had endured continuous problems with dogs following his cattle and some sheep had been killed.

Judge Michael O’Shea said yesterday that it would have been impossible for the pups to worry the cattle so as to give reasonable apprehension that injury would be caused to the animals. Discharging the gun was, he said, reckless and unreasonable behaviour.

The judge said however that he would withdraw the suspended prison sentence and reduce the fine by €100 to €600. He said there was no evidence that Mr. Kenneally was a risk with a gun and he was satisfied that he remained a suitable person to hold a licensed firearm. The judge directed that the weapon be returned to the farmer.



Cattle trader jailed over illegal tags and growth hormones

Irish Independent, 28/03/2003

A cattle dealer who put false identity tags on cattle in order to claim subsidies was jailed for two years yesterday.  see more



Court bans farmer after starving, dying sheep found

Irish Independent, 09/01/2003

A west of Ireland farmer neglected his sheep so badly that many of the animals were either dying or were skeletons by the time the gardai and a vet were alerted.

  John Concoran (57), unmarried, of Clashaganny, Kiltullagh, Athenry, Co Calway was ordered by a judge to sell all his sheep and never to engage in any form of sheep farming again after hearing details of what he described as an appalling case of animal cruelty in which excruciating pain had been inflicted.

  The farmer had told a garda that the cost could not justify him getting a vet for the sheep that were dying of starvation on his 58-acre holding.

  At Loughrea District Court yesterday, Corcoran was ordered to carry out 200 hours of community service. Judge Michael Reilly warned him that if he failed to do the work, he would impose a six-month jail sentence.

  A Department of Agriculture vet, Elizabeth O’Flynn told a previous court hearing that she had been appalled by what she had seen on the farm at Kiltullagh in May of last year. The accused had appeared totally indifferent to the suffering that he was causing.

  Ms O’Flynn said it was evident that there had been total neglect of the sheep and it was as if the animals were left to die. She said that starvation was an extremely cruel and painful form of death. She had put down three sheep humanely.

  Corcoran, who had a previous conviction for cruelty to sheep, admitted charges of cruelly permitting unnecessary suffering to sheep, lambs and ewes by failing to feed them and of permitting sheep and lamb carcases to remain unburied on his land.

  Garda Kevin Devally had found a total of 13 dead sheep on the farm when he visited it on May 1.

  Three others were so week they could not stand and others were in poor condition. The field was flooded and had no grass – the animals had no feed whatever.

  Some of the sheep had been eaten away by dogs, while 20 bales of silage on the farm were all rotten. Six bags of lamb nuts had remained unopened outside on the roadway.

  Cororan’s solicitor, John Nash said his client had led an exemplary life of almost 57 years and was coming to court with his hands up.



Dog had to have eye removed after beating

Irish times, 26/09/2003

A District Court yesterday heard how a dog had to have her right eye removed following a beating by her former owner.

  Michael Gaughran (49), of Woodtwon, Drumconrath, Co Meath, admitted the cruelty to animals offence at Woodtwon on February 19th this year when he appeared before Ardee District Court yesterday.

  Garda Barry Crudden said he went to Woodtwon on that date after an inspector with the Irish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals contacted him to say he had received a report of a dog being beaten.

  At Woodtown, the garda spoke to tow men, who said they had witnessed Gaughran beat the dog with a broom handle. He saw the dog cowering in the corner, and spoke to Gaughran, who said the dog had attacked a goose and he had hit her “a couple of taps of a stick”.

  The garda seized the dog under the Protection of Animals Act, and handed her over to the ISPCA inspector, Mr Conor Dowling.

  Solicitor Mr Richard McDonnel said the dog had cuts to the eye and was otherwise well fed. It had also attacked and killed a lamb a year before.

  In reply to Judge Flann Brennan, the garda said the dog’s eye had t be removed following the incident.

  Mr McDonnel said the dog had a defective eye anyway, but did not know if it was the same eye that was removed.

  Veterinary inspector Mr Finbar Heslin told the court he examined the dog, and said both eyes were affected by blunt trauma.

  The left eye had sever haemorrhaging, the cornea was lacerated and the top of the counea surface had been removed. There was internal damage to the right eye and evidence of previous trauma. The reason it (right eye) was removed “was the result of damage inflicted just previous”.

  Gaughran’s solicitor said his client has a debilitating illness and was on disability income of just €124 a week. He added that the ISPCA was not seeking to have him prevented from keeping animals.

  Judge Brennan convicted Gaughran, and imposed a fine of €200.

  After the court case, the ISPCA inspector said the damage to the dog’s eye was not immediately known as the white of the eye, the so-called third eyelid, had been covering it.



Two face charges over dog shipment

The Star, 22/07/2003

Two men are due to face charges in Spain for transporting greyhounds from Ireland to the continent under shockingly cruel conditions.

  The practice only came to light when animal welfare investigators followed one of the dog shipments on a 38 hour journey from Ireland to Spain.

  The father and son, aged 60 and 39 – from Britain – were apprehended after investigating offic6ers involved found 36 racing greyhounds squashed inside 20 tiny cages.

  The animals had been trapped inside a truck in temperatures reaching 10x4 degrees Fahrenheit.

  The animals were packed like battery hens in the back of a stinking truck in Ireland and transported, by road and sea, to Spain to begin their racing careers.

  When they were rescued, they were hot, thirsty and frightened and were panting for air due to anxiety.

  During the 38-hour trip by ferry and road from Roscoff in Ireland to Barcelona the pair stopped to give the dogs some water only once and didn’t give them food.



Foolish riflemen shot 18 goats dead

Irish Independent, 27/03/2003

Three members of a gun club who admitted shooting dead nearly 20 goats have been ordered to pay €c6,000. John Collins, Diarmid O’Neill and Aidan Shannon with addressed in Drimoleague Co. Cork pleaded guilty to two counts of criminal damages over the shooting of 18 goats last April. The men initially entered a not guilty plea at Skibbereen District Court earlier this month, claiming they had been asked to kill the goats by a local farmer.

  They told the court Padraig Collins asked them to kill the animals because they were causing damage to land and crops near Drimoleague. Dunmanway District Court heard yesterday the defendants shot the goats with a rifle in the forest on April 6 last year. Ten days later a local man found a wounded goat in the forest and contac6ted the gardai. The animal had to be put down. A garda was launched and the men were arrested.

  Judge James O’Connor was shown pictures of the dead animals, which belonged to Kenneth Coombes and Jerry Collins.

  Judge O’Connor described the defendants as “foolish”. The men’s solicitor, Gerard Corcoran, said his clients believed they were eliminating a pest problem.   Judge O’Connor ordered the men to pay a total of €6,000 to the ISPCA, the Court Poor Box, the owners and the Garda Benevolent Fund. Sentencing was

Adjourned until March 24, 2004.



Trio changes pleas, admit shooting dead 20 goats

Irish Independent, 12/03/2003

Three men changed their pleas yesterday and admitted shooting dead more than 20 goats.

  John Collins, Aidan Shannon and Diarmuid O’Neill, with addresses in Drimoleague, Co Cork, pleaded guilty to criminal damage there on April 6, 2000.

  The men, members of a gun club, initially pleaded not guilty at Skibbereen district court, saying they were asked to kill the goats by a local farmer, but changed pleas yesterday evening.

  One goat survived the shooting but had to be put down by a vet and a Garda investigation was launched.

  The men agreed to pay €16,000 compensation to owners Gerard Collins and Kenneth Coombes.  Judge James O’Connor adjourned the case until March 26 at Dunmanway district court and remanded all three of the defendants on continuing bail.



Three admit goat herd massacre

The Star, 12/03/2003

Three gun club members pleaded guilty yesterday to charge over the massacre of a herd of goats.

  Skibbereen District Court in west Cork was told 28 goats were shot by a group of men on April 6, 2001.  Three of the group, Aidan Shannon (25) of Donovan Road, Drimoleague, John Collins from nearby West End and another man – all members of Island Valley Gun Club – pleaded guilty yesterday to causing criminal damage.  Judge O’Connor heard that the goats were shot in a wooded area at Lietra with .22 magnum rifles after the animals were blamed for crop damage estimated at €800.

  Shannon told Gardai the goats had been behind the ear.  They had been piled in a heap after the hour-long massacre.

  “As far as we were concerned they were all dead,” he said.

The court was told most of the goats were shot once, but some had to be shot twice.  Local resident and artist Ann Dex called Gardai after an injured goat was seen roaming woodland 11 days after the culling.


Distressed

She told the court she saw a goat “in a distressed state with a hole in its head and in its jaw.”  A vet later put down the wounded animal.

  Investigators later found three more dead goats in the area – including a young animal that had died of starvation and two others which were badly decomposed.


Compensation

After their plea, Gardai gave an assurance that they would not revoke the accused men’s gun licenses.  Judge James O’Connor said the men were “very foolish to have destroyed the animals.”

  “Some of this party were members of a gun club and were asked to do a job they believed was justified,” he said.

  “They didn’t give a damn – it was shoot, shoot, shoot, end of story.”

He adjourned the case so the men could pay €1,600 compensation to farmers Kenneth Coombes and Jerry Collins.



Cian to lose gold today

But he could win back

News of the World, 27/03/2003

Showjumper Cian O’Connor is expected to lose his Olympic gold medal today.

  Equestrian sport’s ruling body the Federation Equestre Internationale is set to uphold its ruling that his mount Waterford Crystal DID test positive for banned substances.  And that means the Kildare-born rider will be forced to hand back the medal.

  But in a sensational twist, insiders say Cian, who has always protested his innocence, will win it back at the Court of Arbitration in Sport.  Cian, 24, scooped Ireland’s only Olympic gold last September, after a stunning clear round in the individual showjumping event.

  But just a month later he was embroiled in a battle to clear his name, after Crystal tested positive for fluphenazine and zuclopenthixol.

  His solicitor, Andrew Coonan, has prepared an 18-page defence and today the two men, accompanied by a barrister and vet James Sheeran, will give an oral defenc6e in Switzerland.

  One insider told the Irish News of the World: “Easter Sunday is D-day for Cian. The process with the FEI has reached the end of the road.

  “If he is found guilty Cian will lose the medal for the Olympic individual showjumping event.

  “The feeling among the equestrian community is that Cian will lose his medal but will win it back at a Court of Arbitration in Sport appeal.”

Cian, who lives in Ratoath, Co Meath, is currently competing in the Gold Tour in Italy.  He told the FEI that on July 22 last year his horse suffered a fetlock injury and his vet advised hydrotherapy treatment, which involves confinement in a unit.

  Vet James Sheeran said a mild sedative was given to the 13-year-old bay to prevent him hurting himself in the special treatment area.  Mr Sheeran said: “I can categorically state that the medication administered by me was not a performance enhancing substance.

  “It was used after careful consideration in the best interest of the horse’s welfare over a month before the Games.”

Together Cian and Waterford Crystal have competed in 13 Nations Cup events. The horse is part owned by media tycoon Tony O’Reilly and is said to be worth €2 million.



Cock-up over a summons

Irish Independent, 09/05/2003

A District Court judge threw out a charge against a man allegedly involved in a cockfight last summer.

  The case was dismissed at Kells court yesterday after the man’s solicitor successfully argued that the townland on the summons was incorrect.  However, Judge John Brophy indicated he would have considered imposing a jail term on the man if he had been convicted.

  The judge made his ruling after viewing video footage from the Garda Air Support Unit helicopter after it had come upon a group of about 30 people in Diamor, Kells, Co Meath on June 23.

  Before the court was James Melia of Diamor, Crossakeel, Kells and he was charged with causing procuring or assisting in fighting or baiting of animals.  Gardai submitted that the footage from the helicopter and ordinance survey maps had identified the townland in question as Diamor.

  However, after a submission by the defendant’s counsel Judge Brophy ruled that the correct townland was in fact Thomastown.

  Despite the dismissal, Judge Brophy congratulated the gardai on bringing the case before the court.

After the case, the Meath Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals said it wanted those involved in such activities to know they would not get away with it.



Pups recover after horror Halloween river stunt

Irish Independent, 03/11/2003

Two little Springer spaniel pups continue to make a miraculous recovery after being dumped in a sealed box in a river in a Halloween stunt.  Dodder and River, the eight week old pups, were left to either suffocate or drown when they were thrown into Dublin’s Dodder river in a sealed box last Friday.

 The pair were rescued when the box was spotted by two 13-year-old boys as it floated past the Mill Pub in Tallaght. They climbed into the river and pulled the box out and were amazed to find the terrified pups inside.

  Last night the Dublin Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (DSPCA) were calling on the public to help them apprehend whoever sealed the pups in the floating coffin.

  Education Officer Gillian Bird said: “This is just typical of the type of thoughtlessness that goes on with people especially around Halloween.”

  The DSPCA believe the dogs may have been stolen before they were sealed into the box as Springer pups retail at around €500.