Cases in 2011

Young puppy kicked to death by Donegal kids ( ), 8/1/2011

THREE children, one as young as five, laughed and cheered as they kicked a puppy to death in a Letterkenny ousing estate, the Irish Independent newspaper reports in a shocking and terrible story this morning, which first came to light yesterday on a local radio station.  see more

Fears of cock-fighting ring after birds found dumped

Irish Examiner (, 02/08/2011

ANIMAL welfare groups are concerned there may be a cock-fighting ring operating in the Dundalk area after a number of injured cocks and other fighting birds were found dumped.  see more

Woman died from allergic reaction to sex with dog 
A man appears in court after allegedly ordering his Alsatian dog to have sex with a woman who died as a result. A MAN HAS appeared before Limerick District Court charged with ordering his Alsatian dog to have sex with a 43-year-old mother of four, who died from an adverse allergic reaction to the intercourse. The Irish Sun reports that Sean McDonnell, 57, is charged with buggery contrary to Section 61 of the Offences against the Person Act of 1861 – and is believed to be the first person in Ireland to be charged under the legislation. The Irish Daily Star adds that McDonnell and the deceased woman had discussed the arrangement on a bestiality internet chat room, and that Gardaí are satisfied that the intercourse was consensual. The Alsatian dog has been kept in quarantine ever since the incident of 7 October, 2008, Patrick O’Connell wrote.

  The woman fell ill at around 7:30pm that evening and was rushed to Mid-Western Regional Hospital where she died at around 8pm. Tests showed she had died of anaphylaxis, a severe allergic reaction similar to that prompted by peanut allergies. The Sun’s Barry Moran said McDonnell could face a life sentence in prison if found guilty.

O’Hagan refutes reported number of slaughterings

Irish Examiner, 19/03/2011

THE chief executive of Irish Thoroughbred Marketing has refuted reports in the UK during the week that over 4,500 thoroughbreds were slaughtered in Ireland last year.

  Michael O’Hagan was speaking in Prestbury Park with the Cheltenham Festival in full swing and shortly after Paul Nolan’s Noble Prince had just recorded a record-equalling tenth success of the week for Ireland and a day after a record-breaking six wins in one afternoon.

  “That’s not even close to what’s going on,” he said.

  “Those figures are telling you over the last three years the number of thoroughbreds registered has dropped from 12,000 to 7,000. That’s a figure people are assuming all sorts of things about which makes no sense at all.

  “In a recession, people realise the market dictates what they can or can’t sell. We know what people can pay or not pay.

  “The market will dictate to the breeders what they bring through. It’s about quality not quantity. Rubbish is no longer tolerated. We’d be pushing quantity and on Wednesday the proof was in the pudding.

  “The best horses are coming out of Ireland. When people had a lot of money it was a fad to breed another and it takes a couple of years to wind down. People are breeding to sell or to race so they manage quality.”

It was reported by the BBC that 9,790 horses had been put to slaughter in abattoirs in Ireland in 2010, 4,618 of them being thoroughbreds, but O’Hagan took exception to facts which he claimed had been “twisted and turned”.

  “That is simply just not true. Of course, there is natural attrition, animals not able to run, or ill. If you think there is no future for the thoroughbred, then you have it euthanised but it is done properly and professionally.

  “To use the word ‘slaughter’ gives connotation of a gun to head in a field, that’s not what happens.

  “You can drive into any yard in Ireland, criticise their house, their dog, car, almost their wife but say one bad word about a horse and you’ll be thrown out the gate. You watched that on Wednesday with all those winners.

  “The fact they weren’t all favourites made it better because it shows at every level you have a chance at this game.

   “The word slaughter is wrong, the number is wrong, the reality is that it’s responsible ownership, if an animal is beyond its usefulness on the racetrack or in the breeding shed, or is in pain, you might be better to take it away and put down professionally.”

However, trainer Colm Murphy, who had a number of runners at Cheltenham this week, was not surprised at the numbers quoted.

  “No, not surprised but it’s been brought to the fore a lot quicker. Before if a syndicate had a mare and she was no good, they’d put her in foal. A horse would go around to half a dozen trainers but now you’re telling owners ‘the horse is no good, get rid of him.’ If we can find a home for them, great, but it’s not always possible.”

The Wexford trainer added: “I hate to see horses going to a home and things don’t work out. I heard of an instance of a former Grand National horse I think who was dying of malnutrition in the field. The kindest thing, and it’s an awful thing to say, is to put them down.

  “I think this is knock-on of the Celtic Tiger when everyone had a leg of a horse.

  “Now it’s got to the stage where people couldn’t afford the leg of a horse. All that has been weeded out. This is the knock-on effect of that.

  “What’s in racing now will always be in racing but the flash in the pan days are gone. We had a lot of syndicates at one time, around 80% of our horses were owned by syndicates but I’d say 95% of what we have now is owners who can afford to have a horse in training.”

Turf Club set to review fatalities at Tramore 

Racing, 06/08/2011

THE Turf Club is to carry out a full review of events at Tramore on Sunday when four horses were put down after suffering injuries on an all-jumps card.

  Denis Egan, chief executive of theTurf Club, said on Monday: "We intend sitting down with all the relevant groups - the trainers' and jockeys' associations and our own officials - to consider exactly what happened and to see if anything can be done to reduce the risk of such unfortunate incidents happening again."

  Jim Kavanagh, chief executive of the Irish Racehorse Trainers' Association, said: "I spoke with Denis Egan today and our association will be happy to meet the Turf Club and any other parties to assess what happened at Tramore and the possible reasons.

  "I'm not in the business of apportioning blame and these things do happen. But what happened on Sunday is obviously a concern. It is always a concern for trainers when a horse has to be put down or is badly injured on any track.

  "If the review comes up with any improvements that might help the situation, then it will be work worth doing."

One of the horses who died was thenine-year-old Mr Bones, who broke a pastern approaching the second-last in the 2m6f handicap chase. His trainer Jimmy Coogan said on Monday: "Mr Bones won seven races for us - a bumper, three hurdle races, two chases and a Flat race. He was a great servant and meant a lot to us. It was terrible to lose him.

  "Barry [Cash] thought he was going really well and that he was going to win. It all happened so quickly I can't be sure if he slipped or what caused the accident.

  "They did their best watering to ensure safe ground. Some jockeys said it was a bit slippy, I don't know. But when you go to Tramore and the ground is good to firm then you have a fair idea of what it is going to be like."

The other casualties were the Willie Mullins-trained Hampshire Express, who suffered a fractured stifle, Separate Ways, trained by David Marnane, who broke a shoulder, and the Michael Moran-trained Laffan Island, who severed a tendon.

Poisoners use pigeons as live bait to kill buzzards

Irish Examiner, 27/08/2011

BIRDWATCH Ireland has expressed horror after poisoners used three live pigeons tied to the ground to kill a pair of young buzzards.  see more

Financial problems leads to animal cruelty, 25/02/2011

Five animals, including a calf, died and were scavenged on a Mullingar farm when their 25-year-old owner’s financial pressures became too much for him.

  Marc Finnegan of Readypenny, Dundalk, County Louth, was given a six month suspended sentence for leaving a carcass unburied on rented land at Joristown, Mullingar last year.

  Animal cruelty charges were taken into consideration at Mullingar District Court, with Judge Eamon O’Brien describing photographs of the scene as horrific and appalling.

  The court heard Finnegan, who had been farming for six years with his father, had borrowed heavily at the height of the boom to develop his herd and an agricultural contracting business.

  When clients didn’t pay him, he spiralled into “dire financial circumstances”, solicitor Chynel Phelan explained, and this led him to stop making rational decisions.

  Garda Enda Brown described a large number of underfed, malnourished animals when he visited the 180 acre farm on January 18 last.

  A heifer and cow had to be put down by Department of Agriculture veterinary inspector Jonathan Cooney, including a limousin cow which had been left in a ditch for a number of days with no food or water.

  Carcasses, some of which were extensively scavenged, had been left for days with one partially under plastic and one submerged in a small stream.

  A limousine calf left unburied for more than a week had been scavenged to the point where there was nothing left to remove, the inspector said.

  He became aware of the farm when its owners complained that Finnegan had overstayed his lease there.

  At the time Finnegan had up to 106 animals there, which in good condition would have been worth up to €90,000, the inspector said.

  He had reduced his total herd from 300 to less than 50 and the inspector said it was the department’s objective that Finnegan end his involvement in farming.

  Ms Phelan said her client’s local vet described him as an honest and genuine farmer who overstretched himself by putting so much effort into building up his herd.

  Finnegan suffers with anxiety, she said and knowledge of what he had done did not sit easily with him.

  It happened at a time when weather was particularly bad and roads between the farm and his home almost 80 miles away were often impassable. 

  He is utterly embarrassed and ashamed and very remorseful, she said and pointed out that Finnegan faces further summonses relating to the death of some of the animals which were later removed from the farm.

  Judge O’Brien expressed his surprise that Finnegan had no herdsman locally to mind the animals for him and suspended the six month sentence for two years.

Man on sex with alsatian charge sent forward for trial

Irish Independent, 14/07/2011

A 57-year-old man appeared in court in Limerick today on one count of buggery with a German Shepherd dog connected with the suspicious death of a woman.S

  Sean McDonnell, of Churchill Meadows, Raheen, Limerick was sent forward for trial at the Circuit Court in relation to the incident.

  Mother-of-four Carol Hickey (43) died on October 7 2008 when she became unwell at a house in Patrickswell.

  McDonnell is charged with buggery of the animal at 26 Laurel Park, Patrickswell, Co Limerick on October 7 2008.

  A garda investigation following Mrs Hickey’s death resulted in the arrest and charging of the accused man.

  He was today served with the Book of Evidence in the case at Limerick District Court and sent forward for trial at the next sitting of the Circuit Court later this year.

  Mrs Hickey was from Galbally, Co Limerick where she was the secretary of the local community association.

Dog used as fighting bait left savaged

Drogheda Independent, 05/01/2011

A LURCHER with horrific injuries rescued near the Monasterboice Inn was believed to have been used as bait for dog fighting.

  A spokesperson for Drogheda Animal Rescue (DAR), who rescued the animal, following a call from a concerned member of the public, said this was one of the worst cases the organisation had seen this year.

  They reported the incident as an act of animal cruelty to the local branch of the Irish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ISPCA).

  When a DAR volunteer attended the scene, they found the large male Lurcher on the ground with a rope around his neck. The dog had horrific wounds on his legs and body, was suffering from shock and was barely moving.

  He was immediately taken to the local vet where he was treated for severe dehydration and a high temperature.

  His open wounds were badly infected and one of his front legs had sustained several fractures.

  'It is believed that this Lurcher was used as bait for dog fighting as his injuries are those of bite wounds and his leg fractures are not typical of a road traffic accident,' said the DAR spokesperson.

Lurchers are not fighting dogs and are very placid and docile animals. Despite his horrific injuries, he is a gentle and trusting soul.

  She described the Lurcher as a 'gentle giant' and said it was heartbreaking to see the condition in which he had been left.

  The Lurcher had been named Lucky as he was lucky to be alive, the spokesperson added.

DAR were also advising dog owners to keep their dogs secure in their gardens and homes as there were many reports around the country where dogs are stolen solely for the purpose for use in dog fighting and most do not survive.