Cases in 2012

Mr T has lucky escape as four kid goats slaughtered in housing estate

Irish Examiner, 27/4/2012

Four kid goats were brutally slaughtered in the back garden of a built-up housing estate and only swift action by the authorities prevented a fifth from suffering a similar ordeal.  see more



Three in court over badger baiting

Journal.ie, 30/4/2012

THREE MEN HAVE appeared before a court in Co Down today after they were arrested by PSNI officers on suspicion of animal cruelty.  see more



Animal cruelty conviction at Kilcock District Court

Leinster Leader, 12/7/2012

A man who left injured animals in a field in west Kildare has been convicted for animal cruelty at Kilcock District Court.  Gerry Connors (73), Esmonde Road, Enniscorthy, Co. Wexford, was keeping six horses in a rented field at Derryvarogue, Donadea. After Gardai were alerted to the conditions in which the animals were being kept, one of them, a Clydesdale horse, had to be put down after the Kildare Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (KSPCA) was called in.

The offence took place on 24 January 2011 and Judge Desmond Zaidan banned Mr. Connors from keeping horses again.  Garda Sean Tierney said in evidence that he got a call from the KSPCA and met Mary Lawlor and Stewart Keane at the field.

  The Grey Abbey veterinary service was also called and one horse, a big white animal, which was in foal at the time, was put down. The other five animals were taken to the pound and were alright.  Garda Tierney said Mr. Connors was unhappy the horse had been put down. It was said to be worth €12,000.

  The wound on the injured horse were “foul smelling” and “gangrenous” and there was swelling “the size of a football”.  Garda Tierney said the vet put the horse down on “humane grounds”.

  David Powderly, solicitor for Mr. Connors, said his client was in the horse business all his life and felt the animals were being looked after. He paid someone in the area to feed them and they were fed properly.  The Court heard that Mr. Connors had also been in ill health and had eight children.

  He had no pension from the State, said Mr. Powderly.  Judge Zaidan questioned this and Mr. Powerly said Mr. Connors operated outside of the system all his life and was involved in scrap buying. The Judge said he should be entitled to his pension.  The Court heard that the owner of the field had to pay €200 to get the horse removed and the KSPCA had to pay €200 to the vet.  Judge Zaidan said the horse was in a “despicable” condition. He imposed a €1000 fine with €400 costs.



Man jailed for cruelty to at-risk horses

Irish Times, 20/4/2012

A MAN who has contracts with nine local authorities to take in and care for horses which are at risk or abandoned has been convicted of cruelty to animals and sentenced to 16 months in jail.  see more



Investigation begins after injured buzzard found
Breaking News.ie,10/12/2012
An investigation is underway after a young buzzard was shot in Co Meath.  The bird of prey was found alive in the Rossnaree area, but was unable to fly having been hit by a number of shot pellets.  The bird had to be put down."Buzzards are protected birds of prey. The National Parks and Wildlife service is asking anyone with detail about the shooting to contact the conservation ranger in Navan, Co Meath or Gardaí.Annette Lynch, conservation manager with the NPWS, said that it is an offence to shoot these birds.  "When the wildlife act was introduced in 1976 it made it an offence to shoot or poison any of these birds of prey," she said.  "It made a good comeback, and they are actually going further and further south.  "When I started in the job in 1999, I'd pull over when I see a buzzard, whereas I suppose I do see them more regularly now, which is great, but that's because they've been protected."


They've had a ruff time! Adorable puppies bred on illegal dog farm found stuffed into car boot bound for Britain (but don't worry, the poor things are alright now)

  • Police in Ireland seized around 50 of the dogs in the back of two cars in Dublin
  • Many have had their tails docked and claws removed
  • The dogs include around 25 Jack Russells, cocker and springer spaniels, and terrier, beagle and Labrador breeds
  • Several are in special care because they were too young when taken away from their mother

Daily Mail, 11/10/2012

see more



Silencer on a deer hunter's weapon

Wicklow People newspaper,13/06/2012 
A MAN WHO had a silencer on a gun while out illegally hunting deer had his case adjourned until July at last Tuesday's sitting of Baltinglass District Court.  Paddy Cullen, 9 Harbour View, Wexford was charged with an offence under the Wildlife Act on December 29, 2010 and again on January 26, 2011.  He pleaded guilty to the charges and the court heard on December 29, 2010 John Kelly who had leased the deer shooting rights for a wooded area met Cullen carrying a gun 500 meters inside the wood.  He challenged Cullen who said he had permission from a farmer to shoot.

  On January 26, 2011 in a different area Andrew Ryan who had leased the deer shooting rights for that area met Cullen with a rifle and a silencer 200
meters inside the wood.  Mr. Ryan told Cullen he had no permission to be there and asked him to leave.

  Cullen told Judge David Kennedy he didn't realise he had no permission to be on the lands shooting.  'I don't accept that for a second,' said Judge Kennedy.  He adjourned the case until July 3 to allow gardai time to check if Cullen had permission to use a silencer on his rifle.



Activists campaign after donkey dies

Irish Times, January 04/01/2012

Animal lovers have started a campaign to erect a statue in memory of a donkey starved to death in Co Donegal. It was found starving and wasting away in a bed of mud in sheds beside Fanad Lighthouse last Friday.

  Members of the Donegal Donkey Sanctuary rescued the terrified animal but it died a short time later at the sanctuary in Raphoe.  The group also wants to gather as many signatures as possible calling for effective measures to stop this kind of cruelty once and for all.  The petition will be taken by donkey and cart and delivered to Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney at Leinster House.



Bord na gCon says it knows owners of shot greyhounds
The Irish Times, 12/04/2012
The Irish Greyhound Board has confirmed it has identified the owners of a number of greyhounds, whose decomposing carcasses were found dumped in a disused quarry at Ballyagran, west Limerick, over the Easter weekend. It is believed the dogs were shot in the head and then discarded in contravention
of the recently introduced Greyhound Welfare Bill.

  Bord na gCon said it was “working with gardaí to bring the offenders to justice” and “condemned” such actions. It added that identification markings on some of the dogs “were still intact” and “the owners of same has already been identified and will now be questioned”. Newcastle West gardaí are investigating and are due to question the owners identified.



Publican fired shots at hounds on his land

Irish Examiner, 07/01/2012

A PUBLICAN at breaking point took the law into his own hands when foxhounds from a harriers club strayed onto his land in Co Cork and he fired at the dogs. Detective Garda Pat Condon said the club was not hunting on the land but that their pack of over 30 hounds strayed on to it. Fifteen of the dogs were injured, while four others were never found and it was assumed they were shot and died. Michael O’Connell, aged 51, of Ardnaleac, Ballingully, Co Cork, pleaded guilty at Cork District Court yesterday to charges of cruelty to animals by wounding of dogs by shooting with an air rifle loaded with .22 calibre lead pellets. He also pleaded guilty to a related charge of unlawfully and maliciously wounding dogs. 

  Defence solicitor Frank Buttimer said O’Connell had complained numerous times about dogs coming on to his lands prior to the incident on February 22, 2009, and that he reached breaking point when he saw the foxhounds that day. Mr Buttimer described it as a most beautiful location in terms of flora and fauna and that the defendant was trying to let it develop as a safe habitat for badgers and other wildlife. The rural lands overlook the EMC property in the Ovens area. 

  “He had problems with the ingress of dogs and the amount of destruction they caused. It was probably at breaking point. The charges are confined to wounding and causing damage to animals. Other serious stuff is not levelled against him. His purpose was not to injure the dogs but to protect the habitat,” said Mr Buttime.

  Judge Leo Malone said he would dismiss the charges under the Probation Act on payment of €2,000 to Marymount Hospice and the vet’s expenses for appearing in court yesterday for what was listed as a trial before O’Connell’s plea of guilty. The judge complimented Waterfall Harrier Club for indicating it would pay its own veterinary costs and forego witness expenses.



Home truth always hard to accept

Independent.ie, 08/01/2012

Injured horses are put down because it is the humane thing to do, writes Ronan Groome

see more


Animal rights activists call on Irish government to ban horse racing

Irish Central, 09/01/2012

Animal rights activists have issued fresh calls for horseracing to be banned in Ireland after five horse fatalities at the Leopardstown Christmas festival.

  The Alliance for Animal Rights group has sparked outrage amongst the multi-million dollar racing industry with their new demand.

  Activists have called for the sport to be banned after five race horses suffered fatal injuries at the Leopardstown meeting, one of the biggest on the Irish calendar.

  A spokeswoman for the Alliance for Animal Rights outlined their opposition to racing in an interview with the Irish Independent newspaper.

  “In Sligo two years ago, a horse collision at Cullenamore Races resulted in a horse having to be put down and two jockeys rushed to hospital. The collision occurred in front of hundreds of spectators,” said the spokeswoman.

  “Laytown is remembered for the pile-up of horses in the 1990s when three horses were killed.

While these fatalities are described as ‘freakish’, ‘sad’ and ‘regrettable’, the number of injuries and deaths is rising because horses are raced and made jump.

  “We are calling on the Sports and Tourism Minister Leo Varadkar to instigate an investigation into horseracing accidents.

  “We want an end to this animal violation based on the vast cruelty that is inherent in horseracing.”



Man jailed for cruelty to at-risk horses

Irish Times, 20/04/2012

A MAN who has contracts with nine local authorities to take in and care for horses which are at risk or abandoned has been convicted of cruelty to animals and sentenced to 16 months in jail.

 The veterinary inspector who visited the site said two horses he put to sleep had “suffered institutional abuse” and should have been going to a place of “solace and comfort” but were entirely neglected.

 At he imposed sentence at Trim District Court yesterday on Joseph Moran (44), Clonymeath, Summerhill, Co Meath, Judge Patrick McMahon said he was “surprised” Moran still had contracts with local authorities.

 Moran’s 31 acres at Clonymeath were visited by department veterinary inspector Christopher O’Brien Lynch on April 17th last year after complaints were made by the ISPCA and others in relation to concerns about both living and dead horses.

 In a field he found two small bay horses and using a scientific scale ranging from zero to five which rates the condition of the animal, with five being fat and zero being skeletal, he found the horses to be 0.5 or less.

 Their ribs were prominent, they were sitting on the ground, their heads were hanging and their coats were matted and soiled with urine and faeces. Both were dull, listless and deeply distressed, he said. He euthanised them immediately.

 There was no water available and it was “an unseasonally warm day”. Mr O’Brien Lynch said Moran said no water had been given to them since he collected them three days earlier in Co Laois. On the same day he found the carcasses of five horses. Some, he estimated, had been there for three months; one was of a horse straddled on a submerged tree in a river, and another was of a horse that likely became submerged in mud.

 Nineteen other horses were on the lands and he was “entirely” satisfied with their condition and a concern he had about the quality of their feed had been resolved.

 Mr O’Brien Lynch said that in his 37 years in his profession he found the case “very distressing”.   He said the animals were collected because they were vulnerable or abandoned and were taken in on behalf of the State and then had “suffered institutional abuse. They didn’t come from good homes and should have had a week or two of solace and comfort [at Moran’s].”

 Shane Patrick Murray, defending, said his client has contracts with nine local authorities and he collects horses running loose or abandoned and he serves enforcement notices on encampments where he is “not welcome”. Mr Murray said his client has had his assistance sought by the ISPCA, the Dublin SPCA and the Horse Welfare Trust and some people were prepared to give evidence on his behalf until their superiors told them not to get involved. His client accepted he “took his eye off the ball,” and that he fell down in his duties, Mr Murray said.

 Sentencing him to five months on each summons of cruelty to the horses which were put to sleep, the judge said he was “surprised” the various local authorities “are still giving contracts to this man”.

 He also imposed two-month sentences on four summonses for letting carcasses remain unburied. All but one are to run consecutively, meaning the total sentence imposed was 16 months.



Animal cruelty ruling: father and son jailed for allowing horses and ponies to suffer horrifically

Robert McAleenan, 55, and his son Conor, 28, given two years over neglect at Co Antrim farm

Irish Mirror, 02/12/2014

 A father and son have been jailed for almost two years for allowing horses, ponies and donkeys to suffer in the most horrific way.

 In the landmark ruling on Tuesday, Robert and Conor McAleenan, originally from Oldpark, Belfast, were also banned from keeping animals for 25 years.

 Their farm in Co Antrim will now have to be cleared of any livestock remaining on site while they face Christmas in prison.

 In the most robust sentencing in Northern Ireland regarding cruelty to horses, Judge Desmond Marrinan told the men: “This is one of the worst cases of animal cruelty that I have encountered and you should be thoroughly ashamed of your callous behaviour.”

 Antrim Crown Court judge said he was unimpressed by the men’s defence and found no substance in claims Robert McAleenan, 55, and his son Conor, 28 had not set out to deliberately cause suffering or distress to the animals.

 Mr Justice Marrinan said: “This was a case of neglect.”

 He told the court the case photographs were “horrific... almost unbelievable”, and said: “The evidence bore testimony to the fact they treated these poor animals in a pitiless manner without the slightest regard for their welfare. In my view they are unfit to be carers for any animal.”

 The men pleaded guilty to a total of 16 charges of causing unnecessary suffering to the animals between November 1 and 25, 2011 on their Lisnevenagh Road farm in Co Antrim.

 Conor McAleenan, who had owned the animals, was jailed for 14 months.

 His father, who owns the farm between Antrim and Ballymena, was given nine months.

 Sitting in Coleraine, Judge Marrinan said the case was triggered by a tip-off from a member of the public.

 He said that the scene that confronted vets and PSNI officers on November 22, 2011, was a one of horror.

 They were faced with an overpowering stench of dead animals which had been dumped in a heap on the farm, with numerous other standing around in filth, starving and left to fend for themselves.

 One vet said: “The scale of what I saw was unbelievably large. The father and son had fundamentally failed to protect the animals, failed to address the most basic health and husbandry requirements.

 "Some of the animals were in such a pitiful state of suffering that they had to be euthanised on humane grounds.”

The father and son were told they will serve only half the term in jail followed by half again under supervised licensed parole but were removed from the court to Maghaberry Jail on Tuesday where they will spend Christmas.



Antrim horse cruelty: Father and son facing jail

Horses and ponies found living among animal carcasses as judge compares them to "prisoners of war"

Irish Mirror, 28/11/2012

A father and son may face jail next week after condemning 70 horses to a life compared by a judge to “prisoner of war” conditions.  see more



Hurt dog rescued and man held in badger baiting raid

Irish Times, 03/02/2012

THE ULSTER Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (USPCA) has urged the public to be vigilant against badger-baiting after a man was arrested and a badly injured dog rescued near Banbridge, Co Down.

  David Wilson of the USPCA said the severe facial injuries to the dog, a Patterdale terrier, were consistent with the animal having been involved in a fight with a badger.

  The man (58) was arrested by PSNI officers co-operating with USPCA inspectors on Wednesday night. It was part of a UK-wide crackdown on badger baiting called Operation Meles.

  The terrier was rescued from a house in Gilford near Banbridge. A vehicle was also seized. The man was released yesterday “pending further inquiries”.

  A senior police officer said: “I have investigated a number of animal cruelty cases and the injuries sustained by this dog are some of the worst I have seen.”

  In follow-up searches on nearby premises yesterday morning, four similar terrier-type dogs were recovered and taken into the care of the USPCA. Several implements, such as long-handle spades suitable for digging up badger setts and boxes to hold badgers, were also seized.

  Badger-baiting involves setting dogs against badgers. It often involves betting, while breeding and selling the terriers is also a business.

  Mr Wilson said the seizures in Co Down were part of an intelligence-led operation. Throughout the island, he added, it was estimated that badger baiting was “costing the lives of thousands of Irish badgers” each year.

  He said those involved did not go near the badgers in the summer when they were breeding but that this was the season for digging them out of setts to prepare them for organised badger-baiting at “very secret venues”.

  Mr Wilson asked for people, particularly farmers and others living in rural areas, to be watchful for people who might be involved in “this medieval pastime”.

  There was particular suspicious activity to look out for. “You are looking for a van or a vehicle with trailers; you are looking for dogs; you are looking for guys carrying long-handled spades.”



Man jailed for cruelty to at-risk horses

Irish Times, 20/04/2012

A MAN who has contracts with nine local authorities to take in and care for horses which are at risk or abandoned has been convicted of cruelty to animals and sentenced to 16 months in jail.

  The veterinary inspector who visited the site said two horses he put to sleep had “suffered institutional abuse” and should have been going to a place of “solace and comfort” but were entirely neglected.

  At he imposed sentence at Trim District Court yesterday on Joseph Moran (44), Clonymeath, Summerhill, Co Meath, Judge Patrick McMahon said he was “surprised” Moran still had contracts with local authorities.

  Moran’s 31 acres at Clonymeath were visited by department veterinary inspector Christopher O’Brien Lynch on April 17th last year after complaints were made by the ISPCA and others in relation to concerns about both living and dead horses.

  In a field he found two small bay horses and using a scientific scale ranging from zero to five which rates the condition of the animal, with five being fat and zero being skeletal, he found the horses to be 0.5 or less.

  Their ribs were prominent, they were sitting on the ground, their heads were hanging and their coats were matted and soiled with urine and faeces. Both were dull, listless and deeply distressed, he said. He euthanised them immediately.

  There was no water available and it was “an unseasonally warm day”. Mr O’Brien Lynch said Moran said no water had been given to them since he collected them three days earlier in Co Laois. On the same day he found the carcasses of five horses. Some, he estimated, had been there for three months; one was of a horse straddled on a submerged tree in a river, and another was of a horse that likely became submerged in mud.

  Nineteen other horses were on the lands and he was “entirely” satisfied with their condition and a concern he had about the quality of their feed had been resolved.

  Mr O’Brien Lynch said that in his 37 years in his profession he found the case “very distressing”. He said the animals were collected because they were vulnerable or abandoned and were taken in on behalf of the State and then had “suffered institutional abuse. They didn’t come from good homes and should have had a week or two of solace and comfort [at Moran’s].”

  Shane Patrick Murray, defending, said his client has contracts with nine local authorities and he collects horses running loose or abandoned and he serves enforcement notices on encampments where he is “not welcome”. Mr Murray said his client has had his assistance sought by the ISPCA, the Dublin SPCA and the Horse Welfare Trust and some people were prepared to give evidence on his behalf until their superiors told them not to get involved. His client accepted he “took his eye off the ball,” and that he fell down in his duties, Mr Murray said.

  Sentencing him to five months on each summons of cruelty to the horses which were put to sleep, the judge said he was “surprised” the various local authorities “are still giving contracts to this man”.

  He also imposed two-month sentences on four summonses for letting carcasses remain unburied. All but one are to run consecutively, meaning the total sentence imposed was 16 months.



Man jailed for cruelty to at-risk horses

Irish Times, 20/04/2012

A MAN who has contracts with nine local authorities to take in and care for horses which are at risk or abandoned has been convicted of cruelty to animals and sentenced to 16 months in jail.  see more



Bus driver avoids prison in bestiality case

Limerick Post, 19/12/2012

A BUS driver has been given a three-year suspended sentence in a buggery case described by Circuit Court Judge Carroll Moran as “socially repugnant – even in these tolerant times”.

  Sean McDonnell (58) of Churchill Meadows, Raheen, was convicted of the charge of buggery with an Alsatian on October 7, 2008 after a woman was “found in an unresponsive state” after she had sex with a dog owned by Mr McDonnell. The mother of three was pronounced dead in hospital later that night.

  Limerick Circuit Court heard that the father of three had posted messages regarding bestiality on the internet through which he encountered the woman. A laptop computer owned by Mr McDonnell was found to have accessed a bestiality website with over 1.5million hits in a five month period. This, Judge Carroll Moran said, was a “shocking” aggravating factor in the case.

  When the woman became unresponsive during the sexual activity, Mr McDonnell called the emergency services. Dr Aine Moran pronounced the woman dead at the Mid Western Regional hospital but a post-mortem carried out by Dr Maria Cassidy was unable to determine an exact cause of death.

  Mr McDonnell voluntarily went to Roxboro Garda Station in April, 2009 and his home was searched and a German Shepherd was found. Three computers and technical analysis of mobile phone contacts also formed part of the State’s case and the court was told that Mr McDonnell’s admissions were helpful to the prosecution. Analysis carried out by animal genetic scientists showed that fluids and semen matched the DNA of Mr McDonnell’s dog.

  Defending counsel Isobel Kennedy SC, said that the woman “sought out the activity” and since her death, Mr McDonnell was in the “unenviable position of having to plead guilty as the principal offender”. Judge Moran said the guilty party, who is a separated father, had been employed as a bus driver but lost his job because of the adverse publicity and moved to England where he sought counselling from The Priory Clinic.  However, due to financial difficulties, he was unable to avail of their treatment and was now embarking upon “long-term counselling” from an independent provider.

  The court previously heard that Mr McDonnell’s name was added to the register of sex offenders’ and any person on the register is disqualified from having a haulage licence for a vehicle which carries more than nine people. This, the judge said, along with the “enormous adverse publicity”, was severe punishment for the accused.

  During the sentencing hearing last week, Judge Carroll Moran said that even in these “tolerant times”, acts of bestiality were considered “socially repugnant”.   The defendant could have received anything up to life imprisonment but Judge Moran said it was a “very tragic case in which a woman died” and the outcome of the events  could not have been foreseen.

  Amid emotional scenes, he was sentenced to three years in prison, suspended for a period of three years. His name was added to the sex offenders’ register for a period of five years. The court is to be provided with quarterly updates on his continuing counselling for the period of the suspended sentence.




Badger baiting accused face court
BBC News, 30/04/2012

Three men have appeared in court over alleged badger baiting.

  The defendants are all accused of causing unnecessary suffering to a terrier dog and badger and interfering with a badger sett.

  At Newtownards Magistrates Court were Graham Arthur Officer, 40, from Rose Park, Donaghadee and brothers Chris and Ryan Kirkwood, aged 21 and 19, from Island Street, east Belfast.

  Another defendant did not appear in court for medical reasons. He is Darren Millar, 39, from Rainey Way Belfast. Ryan Kirkwood is also charged with resisting police. The defendants spoke to say they understood the charges.

  A police constable told the court this was "an extreme and disturbing case". She added that the USPCA said it was the worst case of animal cruelty in many years.

  District Judge Mark Hamill said the men were to desist from any type of hunting related activities and were warned to stick to their bail conditions which also included a 9pm to 7am curfew, and continued bail of £500.

  The men were arrested by police as part of operation Meles, their investigation into badger baiting across Northern Ireland.

  A number of properties were searched in the Banbridge and south Armagh areas. The accused are to appear in court again on 8 June.