Cruelty probe

Dromore Leader (, 26/1/2010

A FARM at Edentrillick Road, Dromore, is at the centre of a police and USPCA investigation into alleged animal cruelty.

A FARM at Edentrillick Road, Dromore, is at the centre of a police and USPCA investigation into alleged animal cruelty.

Personnel from the Ulster Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (USPCA) and officers of the PSNI visited the dairy farm on Friday following information received from a concerned member of the public.  A spokesperson for the USPCA said one cow had to be destroyed and a number of carcasses were revealed during the visit. Other animals received veterinary treatment.  "The USPCA is recommending that a prosecution under the cruelty law is taken against the keeper of the livestock," said Stephen Philpott of the animal charity. "We will refer some of our findings to other agencies and we would expect the farm to be visited as soon as possible by them to put it into the shape it is required to be in."

Speaking yesterday (Monday), Agriculture Minister Michelle Gildernew confirmed that the case involved dairy animals and one dairy cow was subsequently destroyed.  "Animal welfare is a very important issue and my department takes all reports seriously," she added. "We are aware of the situation; we visited the premises on Saturday to make an initial assessment of the situation and a follow-up visit is scheduled for today (Monday).  "Several concerns were identified at the initial visit and actions were taken at the time. The follow-up visit will reassess the situation and decide what further action is necessary."  Ms Gildernew said she was grateful to the USPCA for alerting the department to the situation. "We want to ensure these kinds of scenarios are a thing of the past," she added.

Meanwhile, USPCA spokesperson David Wilson, said incidents of animal cruelty were increasing rather than decreasing and farm cruelty cases presented one of the biggest challenges to the charity, chiefly because of the scale involved.  "With farm cruelty, you are not usually talking about an isolated incident such as a cruelty case involving a dog or domestic pet," he said.  Mr. Wilson encouraged members of the public to continue to keep vigilant and report any suspected cases of cruelty to police immediately. "If anyone has any concerns, they should contact their local PSNI and we will strive to work together with police officers to keep this subject at the forefront of public awareness," he added.