Cork

Owner traced in dog drown hunt

Star, 5/3/1997

Gardai have identified the owner and breeder of two greyhounds found drowned – with concrete blocks tied to their necks – two weeks ago. Shocking pictures in the Star showed how the dogs were weighed down and dumped in a Co. Cork river. Gardai have been able to pinpoint the owner from ID numbers tattooed on the hounds’ inner ears. The dogs were found washed up on the banks of the river Ilen near Skibbereen. Each was thought to be aged about two.


ISPCA probes own staff over cruelty

News of the World, 26/11/2000

The ISPCA launched a major investigation into claims that pets have been starved, neglected and cruelly put to death at one of its own animal sanctuaries.  see more


The Sun/The Mirror, 15/5/2001 

(only main points)

Cornelius Keane, (37) Bawnbue, Drimoleague, Co.Cork was jailed for three years at Cork Circuit case for injecting cattle with slurry to claim TB compensation. He took slurry from pits and injected into forty-nine cattle leaving them with lumps half the size of a football. Mr.Keane stood to gain £900 a month compensation for as long as his herd was confined to the farm. It was reported that Mr.Keane owned money to his bank and he stood to gain about £25.000 from the fraud.


Fraud, Fraud and More Fraud

Farmers Journal, 19/5/2001 (Letters)

The latest scandal to rock the farming community is the jailing of a young Cork farmer who is a former nominee for the Young Dairy Farmer of the Year Award. Cornelius Keane from Bawnbue, Drimoleague, Co. Cork, was jailed for three years for unmercifully injecting his cattle slurry in order to defraud the state of ₤20,000 in bovine TB compensation. Keane (37) injected a lethal concoction of caustic soda and slurry into his 49-strong herd. According to Judge AG Murphy this act of cruelty merited a lifetime ban from farming and a severe prison sentence. The effect of the injections on the herd was graphically described in court by senior veterinary inspector John Murray. He told how he found cattle with swellings the size of Gaelic footballs on their necks. The swellings were oozing poisonous puss and causing severe pain to the animals.


Farmer guilty of brewing abhorrent animal cures

Irish Independent, 10/6/2001

A Farmer received a five month suspended sentence yesterday and had to donate €4,500 to the ISPCA after he was convicted of brewing illegal animal remedies – with ingredients like diesel oil – for sale or supply at his Cork home.  see more


Foolish riflemen shot 18 goats dead

Irish Independent, 27/3/2003
Three members of a gun club who admitted shooting dead nearly 20 goats have been ordered to pay €6,000.  see more


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.


Hunter fined €500 over shotgun blast at rabbit.

Irish Independent, 10/7/2004

A Hunter who blew a hole in a family home while hunting rabbits with a shotgun in a town centre at 3am when intoxicated has been fined €500. Timothy Coakley from Inchigeelagh, who appeared before Cork Circuit Criminal Court yesterday pleaded guilty to a charge of reckless endangerment with a firearm. Coakley admitted that he had been trying to shoot rabbits along the main street of Dunmanway when he accidently blasted the family home on August 7th. Council for the hunter insisted that the incident was a case of ‘drunken bravado’.


Farmers injected cattle with slurry to feign TB.

Irish Examiner, 2000

Two farmers injected slurry into cattle to provoke positive reactions to bovine TB tests in a bid to get the State to pay thousands of pounds in compensation.  see more


Garda smelled cruelty from road

Irish Examiner, 19/12/2002
A rural garda literally smelled animal cruelty as he passed a farm in North Cork and on investigation he found 47 dead cattle and many more malnourished cows standing among the carcases.  see more


Farm probe garda tells of ordeal with animals

Irish Examiner, 4/1/2002
A garda investigating the suspected neglect of cattle on a farm in Cork had to arm himself with a pike as the animals approached him in the yard, a court was told yesterday.  see more

The Sun/The Mirror, 15/5/2001

 (main points)

Cornelius Keane, (37) Bawnbue, Drimoleague, Co.Cork was jailed for three years at Cork Circuit case for injecting cattle with slurry to claim TB compensation. He took slurry from pits and injected into forty-nine cattle leaving them with lumps half the size of a football. Mr.Keane stood to gain £900 a month compensation for as long as his herd was confined to the farm. It was reported that Mr.Keane owned money to his bank and he stood to gain about £25.000 from the fraud.


Farmers Convicted over TB deceit

Irish Times, 1/12/2000

Two Co. Cork farmers received suspended prison sentences and were fined yesterday when they appeared at Macroom District Court charged with injecting slurry into cattle, so as to alter the accuracy of TB testing.  see more

Farmer pleads guilty to cattle movement charges

Examiner, 17/11/2001 

The father of top jockey Norman Williamson was yesterday fined £1,000, ordered to pay £1,535 witness expenses and £500 costs after pleading guilty to charges relating to the illegal movement of cattle.  see more
 

Trial over as BSE fraud pair change their pleas to guilty

Examiner, 17/11/2001 

The BSE fraud trial ended dramatically yesterday when the West Cork father and son changed their pleas to "Guilty".  see more


Probe into ‘horrific’ fox killing

Irish Independent, 21/3/2013

AN ANIMAL welfare probe is under way after sick thugs tortured and hanged a young fox from a tree directly opposite a busy bus stop.  The gruesome discovery was made in Mayfield on Cork's northside by a group of youngsters curious about the large plastic bag draped from a chain off a large tree branch.  Onlookers were horrified to discover that a fox had been wrapped inside a large plastic bag and then hanged by its neck from a chain.

The Cork Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (CSPCA) was called to the scene and the fox was removed to determine if, as suspected, it had been tortured before being killed.  The CSPCA described the incident as one of the worst they have ever dealt with.  Inspector Vincent Cashman said they are determined to identify those responsible.  "This was a horrific act and we would appeal to anyone who suspects they know those responsible to contact either ourselves or the gardai," he said.

A special appeal for information has also been launched via the CSPCA's Facebook page.



Teen convicted over sulky race avoids jail

Irish Examiner, 13/04/2013

The youngest of the men convicted of involvement in a sulky race on the main Cork to Limerick road, which became a YouTube sensation, avoided jail yesterday for his part in the dangerous escapade.

  Judge Olann Kelleher recalled at Cork District Court that a number of the participants in the race involving horse-drawn sulky cars on the dual carriageway had been jailed. However, the judge said that he was taking into consideration the fact that James Stokes was only 17 at the time of the event. Judge Kelleher fined Stokes €250 on a charge of dangerous driving. Stokes, now aged 18, from St Anthony’s Park halting site in Knocknaheeny, Cork, was also put on a probation bond for nine months on condition that he would comply with the conditions imposed on him by the probation service and not come to the attention of gardaí.

  The offence was committed on May 5, 2012, on the main Cork-Mallow road, the N20, near Ballygibbon, Blarney, Co Cork. The incident was recorded on film by one of several dozen onlookers who were following the race in a convoy of cars and vans. Clips of the incident, posted on YouTube, have been viewed more than 500,000 times.



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.



Five men jailed for illegal horse racing on public road - VIDEO

IrishCentral, 10/02/2013

A judge in Cork has sent five men to jail for five months for dangerous driving after a sulky race on the Cork to Mallow road last May.  see more


Cruel farmer who injected cows with slurry in fraud attempt get three-year jail sentence

Irish Examiner, 15/05/2001

A farmer, who injected his cattle with slurry in an attempt to give them TB so he could claim a slaughter grant from the Department of Agriculture, was jailed for three years yesterday.  see more



Women tell trial of horse attack

Irish Independent, 02/11/2004

Two women said they were “shocked and sickened” after witnessing a horse being savagely beaten with ropes and a heavy iron gate because it wouldn’t enter a horse box.

The women were giving evidence in Cork Circuit Court yesterday at the trial of Maurice Stokes of Bay 3, The Halting Site, Knocknaheeny, Cork, who has denied a charge of cruelty to an animal.



Legal action threat over foal’s death

Irish Independent, 21/04/1998

A Dublin man claims his mare was badly neglected by a Cork horse pound, reports Aidan Kelly.

  A Dublin horseowner is planning to take legal action against a horse pound following the death of his newly born foal.

  A mare belonging to Ballymun man Robert Curran foaled while it was in the pound in Glenville, Cork – used by both Fingal County Council and Dublin Corporation.

  When Mr Curran went down to the pound to pay £375 for the release of his horse, he claimed the foal – two days old at the time – was lying on the ground “totally neglected.”

  Three days after giving the foal constant care, supervision and treatment, it died.

  “It was a collection of skin and bones,” Mr Curran said. “I have never seen anything like it. They totally neglected the mare and the foal and the conditions down there were a disaster.”

Swords based vet Conor O’Scanaill, who attended to the foal, said the death could have been prevented.

  “My report said that the whole situation could have been avoided if the foal had been looked after since birth,” said Mr O’Scanaill. The mare is gradually improving but it is very hard to reverse the health of a very sick three to four day old foal, even if it was in Sheikh Mohammed’s stables.”

Mr Curran feared the worst for his horse after he and other horseowners watched a secret video shot at the pound, which shoed dead and dying horses in filthy conditions. The video, also screened on news channels recently, featured Mr Curran’s mare.

  The two Northside men who shot the video – Gerald Fitzgerald and John Farrell – went to court over the cruel treatment of horses at the pound as “unsanitary, inhumane and unacceptable.”

  Dublin Corporation agreed to certain proposals, one of which was that the pound would not be used again until it is certified fit for the job.

  Frank Murray, head of the corporation’s environment and culture department – which also implements the Control of Horses Bill – said farm land in Kilkenny is now being utilised as a pound until Cork is deemed fit enough to use again. All horses have been moved there with the exception of one, he said.

  Mr Murray said the Cork pound was in “excellent condition” when they inspected it last October but during the winter months it “cut up very badly” and it was brought to their attention. However, he denied that any horses were ill treated at the pound.

  “A lot of the horses are in very poor condition anyway when impounded and the vet has to put them down humanely,” Mr Murray said.

Mr Murray added staff at his department have been subjected to “a very high level of intimidation” from some horseowners since they commenced impounding horses under new legislation, although he said other horseowners have disassociated themselves from these.



Recluse had 108 dogs in bungalow

Irish Times, 10/12/2004

An elderly recluse who had 108 dogs seized from his home because they were malnourished and neglected was allowed to keep one of the animals at Cork Circuit Court yesterday.

  Veterinary officials found John O’Sullivan to be in possession of 108 dogs at his three-bedroom bungalow in Lus na Meala, Banduff, Co Cork, two weeks ago.   The dogs were seized by Cork County Council following a court order. Most of them had to be put down.



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.



Owner fined £100 for cruelty to 17 dogs

Irish Times, 22/01/1998

A huntsman and dog-owner was yesterday fined £100 for cruelty to 17 foxhounds in what an animal welfare inspector described as “a most appalling case.”  Christopher O’Sullivan (40) from Shamrock Place, Ringaskiddy, Co Cork, pleaded guilty to cruelty to two dogs but denied he had been cruel to the rest.

  Animal welfare inspector Mr Ted O’Connor of the CSPCA said he found two dogs in a shed and wire compound in a field near O’Sullivan’s home on May 1st last.  One was heavy in pups and they were so bad it was difficult to recognise them as foxhounds.

  “The two dogs were in the most emaciated condition. One could clearly seek the skeletal fame of the dogs through their flesh…the dogs were tearing and scratching.

  “The floor of the compound was covered with several inches of faeces, rubbish and old bones and they had no food or water,” Mr O’Connor told a spec6ial sitting of Carrigaline District Court.

Mr O’Connor said he found another 10 hounds in another wire compound attached to a ruined shed. These dogs were also tearing and scratching their bodies.

  “The whole floor area was covered with several inches of faeces, rubbish and old bones. The smell…was overpowering. The dogs had no food and the only drink was a half-buc6ket of dirty green water.”

He found another hound in a small car trailer lying in a week’s faeces. There was no sign of food or water in the trailer, he said.

  “It was obvious these animals were suffering over a long period of time, left without food or water and kept in dirty compounds.”

He also found four hounds loose on a roadway. They looked reasonably healthy and this was probably because they weren’t confined to compounds and were able to scavenge for food.

  Garda Declan O’Connor said when he visited the compounds, he found the first two dogs in a wretched condition. “I have never seen a dog alive in such a condition.”

  O’Sullivan explained that he was secretary, huntsman, and kennelman of the Shamrock Harrier Club. He had been involved in the club since he was 10 years old. He had taken in a numb8er of dogs when some elderly members of the club retired or died. He had three dogs himself, but admitted he had overstocked.  The first two dogs had been missing for over six weeks and were dropping from hunger when he found them. He was unable to attend to them properly for a few days because of some shift work he had got with Irish Steel. The other dogs had a hard season and needed the summer to recover.  The dogs were kept in the shed only on three days a week when he fed them meat. He allowed them out into a field for the rest of the week. O’Sullivan claimed. He had given away most of the dogs to two other local harrier clubs and now kept only three himself.

  Solicitor Mr Eugene Murphy said his client “had been striving manfully to keep an ageing club together.” He was a dog-lover for over 30 years and regretted very much what had happened.

Judge Joseph Mangan fined O’Sullivan £100 and ordered him to pay £80 expenses.



Huntsman fined £100 for cruelty to his hounds

Irish Independent, 22/01/1998

A huntsman who starved two dogs until they began tearing at each others bodies was fined £100 yesterday after pleading guilty to cruelty charges.

  Christopher O’Sullivan, Shamrock Place, Ringaskiddy, Co Cork, pleaded guilty at Carrigaline District Court yesterday to cruelty to two dogs on May 1, 1997. He denied cruelty charges to 15 other dogs.

  Animal welfare official, Ted O’Connor, told Judge Joseph Mangan that the harriers were found locked in a derelict shed surrounded by a wire compound.

  The animals were so hungry that they were repeatedly tearing at their own skin and that of their companion.

  “The whole floor area was covered with several inches of faeces as well as rubbish and old bones,” Mr O’Connor told the court.

O’Sullivan told the court that he was secretary and kennelsman of the Shamrock Harriers Club.  He insisted that the dogs were not deliberately mistreated – explaining that they were “knackered” – after the hunting season.

  Judge Mangan convicted O’Sullivan of cruelty to all 17 dogs and fined him £100.



Huntsman fined for cruelty to harriers

Irish Examiner, 22/01/1998

A huntsman and dog lover was yesterday convicted and fined £100 for cruelty to 17 harriers in what an animal welfare inspector described as “a most appalling case.”

  Father of seven, Mr. Christopher O’Sullivan, (40), from 2 Shamrock Place, Ringskiddy, Co Cork pleaded guilty to cruelty to two dogs denying he had been cruel to the rest.

  Animal welfare Inspector Ted O’Connor said he found two of the dogs in a shed and wire compound in a field near O’Sullivan’s home on May 1 last year.

  “The two dogs were in an almost emaciated condition. One could clearly see the skeletal frame of one of the dogs through their flesh…the dogs were tearing and scratching,” he commented.

  “The floor of the compound was covered with several inches of faeces, rubbish, and old bones, and they had no food or water,” Mr O’Connor described to a special sitting of Carrigaline District Court.

Mr O’Connor said he found another ten hounds in another wire compound attached to a ruined shed. These dogs were also tearing and scratching their bodies.

  “The whole flood area was covered with several inc6hes of faeces, rubbish and old bones. The smell was overpowering. The dogs had no food and the only drink there was a half bucket of dirty green water,” he said.

Mr O’Connor found another hound in a small car trailer, lying in a week’s accumulation faeces. There was no sign of food or water in the trailer,” he said.

  “It was obvious these animals were suffering over a long period of time, left without food or water and kept in dirty compounds,” he said.

He also found hounds loose on a roadway. They looked reasonably healthy and this was probably due to the fact that they weren’t confined to compounds and were able to scavenge for food.

  Garda Declan O’Connor told the court that when he visited the compounds he found the first two dogs in a wretched condition. “I have never seen a dog alive in such a condition” said Garda O’Connor.

  O’Sullivan explained that he was secretary, huntsman and kennelsman of the Shamrock harrier Club. He had been involved in the club since he was ten years old.  He had taken in a number of dogs when some elderly members of the club retired or died. He had three dogs himself but he had overstocked, he admitted.  The first two dogs had been missing for over six weeks and were dropping from hunger when he finally found them.  He stated that he was unable to attend to the dogs properly for a few days because of some shift work he had got with Irish Steel.

  “The other dogs were after a hard season – they were well knackered after the year – it would take the summer to get them into shape.”

The dogs were only kept in the shed on three days a week when he fed them meat. He allowed them out into a field for the rest of the week, O’Sullivan claimed.  He had given away most of the dogs to two other local harrier clubs and now kept only three himself. He now kept these at kennels at Ballyfeard, he said.

  O’Sullivan’s solicitor Eugene Murphy said his client “had been striving manfully to keep an ageing club together.” He was a dog lover for over 30 years and regretted very much what had happened.

Judge Joseph Mangan fined Mr. O’Sullivan £100 and ordered him to pay £80 expenses for the Animal Welfare Officer, Mr Ted O’Connor.



Farmer may go to jail over ‘large-scale’ animal cruelty

Irish Independent, 25/07/2007

A farmer faces the threat of prison after being convicted of what one animal welfare official described as the worst large-scale case of cruelty she ever encountered.

Kenneth Coombes appeared at Skibbereen District Court yesterday for a litany of cruelty offences on his west Cork farm.

  An unburied carcass was discovered on the front lawn of Coombes’ home outside Skibbereen; the entire property was infested by rats and rubbish was lying strewn throughout the farmyard; two dogs were found living in barrel; 19 ducks had lost most of their feathers and were fighting with rats for feed; horses were in an alarming condition while sheep and pigs were wandering local roadways.

  The court was told the rat infestation problem was so serious that the Health Service Executive’s environmental health section had to be consulted to prevent a potential public safety risk.


Scars

Yesterday, the Department of Agriculture was directed by the court to deal with the 12 pigs and 86 sheep that remain on the property while Coombes is remanded in custody for three days.

  Animal Care Society official Della Murray told the court that several dogs had scars on their neck from effectively being chained to the ground.  One dogs was so traumatised after being kept throughout its life in a cage that it now could not tolerate being in the open.  Another dog had a broken leg which, after being left untreated, had set in an incorrect position.

  “It was absolutely appalling. It is the worst case of cruelty on a large scale that I have ever seen,” she said.

Coombes, of the Carrig, Luttiga, Skibbereen, had pleaded guilty to six offences before Judge James McNulty last November. They included allowing a livestock carcass to remain unburied on the front lawn of a dwelling house on June 2 2006 allowing sheep and pigs to wander untended on the roads and ill-treating pigs through keeping them in a car trailer where there was insufficient room for them to lie down.

  The court had allowed him nine months to reduce live stock numbers on his farm and address the serious health and environment issues on the property.

  Defence solicitor Ray Hennessy said yesterday that substantial progress had been made over recent weeks with horses, sheep and pigs being disposed of. He said that his client was from a dysfunctional background and was socially isolated.

  However, Judge McNulty said Coombes had been allowed ample time to resolve the problems on his farm. He said the facts in the case were “grim” – and warned that a custodial sentence may now be warranted.

  The court heard Coombes had several previous convictions for cruelty to animals dating back 15 years. He also has a conviction for sex4ual assault.  Coombes was remanded in custody to appear for sentencing before Bantry District Court on Friday.



Cattle ‘injected with slurry’

Irish Independent, 04/05/1999

A farmer who allegedly injected his cattle with slurry in an attempt to have them classed as TB reactors, is being investigated by the Department of Agriculture.

  It is understood the investigation was launched by officials after they became suspicious at the number of TB reactors turning up on the man’s farm in the Mid-Cork area earlier this year.

  Dept officials monitoring the farm, allegedly spotted the farmer injecting a cow from a bucket of slurry, in between two visits by a vet carrying out TB tests. A syringe and other items were seized and the animal impounded.

  Gardai were called in to preserve the scene. According to informed sources, injecting a cow with slurry would result in lumps similar to those which show up in an animal after TB tests.

  “This guy was very clever – he had shown up one or two reactors before this and was building up gradually,” said one source.

According to one source, poor cattle prices due to the winter fodder shortage made the prospec6to of £400 to £600 per animal from the Department in compensation payments an extremely attractive temptation.

A Dept spokesman confirmed a case was being prosecuted against a farmer for interfering with TB tests with a view to defrauding the Dept.



Remanded on cattle tags conviction

Irish Independent, 08/02/2001

A Cork livestock worker yesterday pleaded guilty to possessing implements adapted for the removal of ear-tags from cattle originating in Northern Ireland.

  Liam Morgan (43) from 41 Richmond Court, Bandon, Co Cork, admitted in Cork Circuit Criminal Court to possessing the implements at Macroom Livestock Buyers premises on August 7, 1998.

Judge A G Murphy remanded the father-of-four in custody to appear again in two weeks for sentencing. The Court was told that the prosecution arose from a surveillance operation mounted by Gardai following receipt of information from Northern Ireland.



Judge sends battered horse case to higher court

Irish Independent, 15/07/2004

A District Court judge yesterday refused jurisdiction on an animal cruelty ease in which a horse had to be humanely put down after it was allegedly beaten until its back broke when it refused to enter a horse box.

  Judge Michael Pattwell heard that Stokes vehemently denies beating the horse at Carraignafoy, Cobh on September 23 last.

  Garda Inspector Senan Ryan said that the horse had to be humanely put down by a vet who was called to the c6ene and who believed that the horse’s back was broken.

  Judge Pattwell ruled that the matter was more suited to a higher court.

The matter was adjourned to Cobh District Court on September be next and will then be referred to Cork Circuit Court.



Men denies charge of cruelly ill-treating horse

Irish Times, 02/11/2004

A young horse, which was scared of being loaded into a horsebox, was allegedly cruelly beaten and dragged that it fell and sustained injuries that led to it being put down, a court heard yesterday.

  Mr Maurice Stokes, the halting site, Knocknaheeny, Cork, yesterday denied cruelly beating and ill-treating a three-year-old bay horse on September 23rd, 2003, at Carrignafoy in Cork.  Ms Lea Downing and her mother Deidre told Cork Circuit Criminal Court yesterday of their shock and horror at witnessing the cruel manner in which the accused and the owner of the horse Mr John Kiely attempted to load the young filly into a horse-box.

  Ms Downing said she, her mother and a younger sister noticed a young horse “obviously distressed, bucking and rearing” as it was being led by two men out of a field towards a horse box. In her testimony she said Mr Stokes was pulling the horse by a rope around its neck, while Mr Kiely was pushing the animal from the rear.  She said she saw Mr Kiely catch lift the gate of the filed and violently ram it into the terrified horse’s hindquarters.

  The court heard that in an effort to move away the animal slipped and fell, and lay for a few seconds with its body half on, half off the steel ramp leading up to the box.  She said as she watched the young filly get back up on her feet she rang local gardai to alert them to alert them to the incident.

  “The ill-treatment continued after it managed to get up. At that point it was bucking violently now. I could see it sweating, it was getting increasingly upset,” Ms Downing said.

After a few seconds of stumbling on its feet the animal allegedly fell once more, hitting its head and landing awkwardly on its neck on the ground.

  Her mother Deidre said, “It was a horrendous thing to see.” Asked why she didn’t intervene, the mother answered: “I didn’t think it was a safe situation to get involved in.”

Veterinary surgeon Mr Dave Canty said Mr Kiely called him to the scene where he found the horse in a comatose state. “I examined it and as a result decided it wasn’t probably going to get up at that stage. I made some further tests and I decided to put the animal down for humanitarian reasons.”

  Defence counsel Mr Donal Ryan BL, said his client Mr Stokes, along with Mr Kiely, strongly denied ever hitting the animal. “She flipped over and lost her balance and hit her head hard…there was no beating. That’s the truth of it. What happened was an accident,” Mr Stokes said.

The case continues today before a jury of three women and nine men at Cork Circuit Criminal Court.



‘Savage horse beating’ left duo sickened

Evening Herald, 02/11/2004

Two women were “shocked and sickened” after witnessing a horse being savagely beaten with ropes and a heavy iron gate because it wouldn’t enter a horse box.  The women were giving evidence in the Circuit Court at the trial of Maurice Stokes who has denied a charge of cruelty to an animal.

  Stokes (47) denies beating the three-year-old filly at Carringnafoy, Cobh, on September 23, 2003.  The horse eventually had to be humanely put down after examination by vet Dr Dave Canty who found that the animal had sustained serious injuries.


Bucking

However, Mr Stokes – and a friend, John Kiely – insisted that the horse must have injured itself while bucking and kicking.

  Judge Sean O’Donnabhain and the jury heard evidence from two witnesses, Deidre and Leah Downing, who said they saw a horse being viciously abused near their home in Cobh.

  The two women claimed that, at one point, they were only 20 metres away from the horse as it was pulled, dragged and finally struck with a heavy iron gate in a bid to get it into a horse box.  One witness revealed that, at one point, the horse fell to the ground and was then struck from behind when one of the men pushed a heavy iron gate against it. The filly fell twice before finally being unable to rise.  Throughout, the women claimed that the horse was being beaten with ropes in an effort to force it into the trailer.

  The court then heard that one of the two men was seen taking the horse by the mane on its neck, despite it being prone on the ground, and attempting to drag it towards the horse box.  The women were so upset they notified the gardai – and officers immediately arrived at the scene.

  Vet Dr Dave Canty was also called and attended to the stricken animal.  Eventually, he decided the only humane course of action was to put down the filly.

However, Dr Canty told defence counsel, Donal Ryan BL, there were no signs of rope beating s along the filly’s back or sides.

Stokes of Bay 3, The Halting Site, Knocknaheeny, Cork, and Kiely were adamant that the women could not have seen the rear of the horse box from where they were standing.



17,000 dogs die

Busy owners dump unloved pets

News of the World, 13/11/2005

Uncaring owners are responsible for 17,000 dogs being put down in Ireland every year.  This means that 45 dogs are being destroyed every day.

  Now a dog charity is trying to combat the problem by encouraging pet owners to neuter their animals.

  Dog Trust Ireland’s Eilis Denieffe is urging pet owners to call the trust’s National Neuter Hotline, 1890 946 336, to be referred to a local vet.  She said neutering is a simple procedure that also has great health benefits for dogs – it can protect against certain types of cancer.


Stray

Eilis, the charity’s education officer, said if their major neutering scheme takes off it could dramatically reduce the number of stray and abandoned dogs.  Her organisation has begun a pilot scheme in Cork which is proving an overwhelming success, with more than 600 calls made to their hotline.  Hundreds of dogs are already booked in for their operation.

  And Cork people on means-tested benefit can have their dogs neutered for a reduced fee. Eilis said: “The response from the public has been absolutely fantastic.  We’re confident that we can really make a difference to dog welfare in Cork.” Nationally she described the number of dogs being put down as “terrible”.

  And, with Christmas fast approaching, she fears a new influx of unwanted dogs facing an uncertain future.

  She said: “We want to warn people to really THINK before getting a dog this Christmas.”

  She believes some busy parents tend to buy dogs for their children out of guilt.

  She explained: “Guilt has become a major factor in people getting a dog – they tend to do this because they can’t spend as much time with their child as they would want. And, in the new fast-paced world of the tiger economy, more and more pet owners see their dogs which may be conflicting with their busy lives, as disposable objects.”

Eilis teaches interactive workshops in Dublin schools on responsible pet ownership.



Pig farmer jailed for 18 months over animal cruelty

RTE, 13/02/2015

One of Ireland's biggest pig producers has been sentenced to prison for 18 months for what a judge has described as animal cruelty on an industrial scale.

  Rory O'Brien, 60, of Killicane, Mitchelstown in north Cork, had pleaded guilty to five charges of animal cruelty which included the cannibalisation of animals and failing to comply with a welfare notice.

  O'Brien, whose piggery once handled up to 20,000 animals, now owes €22 million to the banks but the court was told the cruelty was not as a result of his finances, which were described as catastrophic, but because of his bad management.

  Department of Agriculture Veterinary Inspector John McConville told Cork Circuit Criminal Court that during several visits to O'Brien's piggery between May and September 2011 they found sick, starving and dying pigs and boars, some units were overrun by rats and animals were without access to drinking water.

  The inspectors also found pigs had cannibalised each other, and in one case a boar had an abscess on his leg the size of a football.

  He said his fellow inspector Mary Callinane got very upset on one occasion when she discovered workmen watering shrubs on the property but the pigs had no water, and temperatures were in the 20s.

  Ms Callinane also had to call gardaí when she was verbally abused by O'Brien during an inspector of the piggery.

  Officials issued several notices to try and alleviate the suffering but these were ignored by O'Brien, who in correspondence claimed his piggery met the highest standards.

  Judge Seán Ó Donnabháin said O'Brien openly defied the Department of Agriculture and described the correspondence as "brazenness in the context of the evidence".

Judge Ó Donnabháin accepted that O'Brien's animal welfare issues occurred at a time he was under severe pressure over his finances but he said the severity of the welfare and cruelty issues required a custodial sentence and he jailed him for 18 months.



Cattle export story

Irish Examiner, 04/11/2014  

Greed was behind a fraud by one of Ireland’s biggest cattle exporters which saw diseased cattle delivered to Morocco.

  Paperwork indicating that the animals were healthy had caused potential reputational damage to the industry, a sentencing judge said yesterday.

  Judge David Riordan warned he would impose a four-year jail sentence on David Hunter, aged 61, of Castlekeun, Mallow, Co Cork if a €50,000 fine was not paid by December 1, 2015, and a further €50,000 by December 1, 2016.

  The judge said the potential reputational damage to the industry was “very serious”.

  Defence barrister Donal O’Sullivan said he did not know if Hunter would be able to pay the fines which could put him out of business.

  A co-accused Joan Stafford, aged 47, of 18 Nano Nagle Place, Killavullen, Co Cork, worked for 20 years for the Hunter family and it was claimed she was “brow-beaten” into taking part.

  She was given a two-and-a-half-year suspended sentence and a 240-hour community service order on two charges.

  Sgt Shane Davern said the Moroccan authorities discovered diseased animals exported by Hunter that had been certified as healthy according to the documentation in August 2011.

  The sergeant said Hunter did co-operate with the subsequent investigation but he said there had been a dogged investigation by Department of Agriculture veterinary inspector Mary Cullinane.

  The sergeant said that when Ireland’s total live exports stood at 400,000 cattle per year, Hunter was exporting 10% of that amount — 40,000 animals.

  Sgt Davern said after 15 years without an Irish live cattle export to Morocco, serious efforts had been made by officers of the Departments of Agriculture and Foreign Affairs to establish the market.

  The Moroccan authorities were particularly concerned about keeping out two bovine diseases, namely IBR and BVD.

  A total of 120 cattle were exported to Morocco on June 30, 2011, by Hunter. Twelve of them tested positive in Morocco and had to be slaughtered.

  Judge Riordan noted: “Mr Hunter, with the assistance of Ms Stafford to a greater or lesser degree, sought to circumvent the conditions attached to the importation of live cattle to the Moroccan market.

  “In doing so they created a situation with the Moroccan authorities.

  “It is hugely regrettable that after the efforts made by the Irish authorities to open up this market, that the likes of Mr Hunter would put those markets in jeopardy. They do create a difficulty and affect the national economy. “These are crimes motivated primarily by greed. I see these offences as coming within the higher end of the scale in terms of deception.

  “An aggravating factor is putting in jeopardy the live export market.

  “Certification must have an integrity. The use of certificates in the manner described completely unwinds the system. It is hoped the Department of Agriculture has tightened up since 2011.”

  Sgt Davern said there were three kinds of fraud involved:

  Switching blood tests for healthy animals with those which had diseases; Presenting documentation to give the impression some diseased animals were being kept out; Changing a computerised form changing the word “positive” to “negative” in respect of animals for export.

  The sergeant said that the system had depended on an element of trust.

  Randall Hall BL said Ms Stafford lived in a council house and did not profit from what was done. He said she had felt brow-beaten into doing what she did.

  But Sgt Davern said that she had a hands-on involvement and played a very important part in the process.

  Both accused pleaded guilty at Cork Circuit Criminal Court to various charges.

  Hunter admitted presenting cattle for export with false declarations on April 7 and June 30, 2011.

  Ms Stafford pleaded guilty to a charge in 2011 in which nine animal tag numbers on a list were falsified to show they corresponded to disease free animals, and furthermore, on June 30, 2011, she used a list containing three altered cattle tag numbers.



Dead dog dumping ground sparks probe.

Irish Examiner, 19/03/2008

THE ISPCA and the Irish Greyhound Board have launched investigations into the discovery of the carcasses of several dogs — including some greyhounds — in a remote west Cork woodland. The gruesome finds were made in recent weeks in the Coppeen region and have prompted fears that owners have been using the isolated area as a dumping ground for unwanted greyhounds.


Little Thor suffers in ‘one of the most appalling cases of animal cruelty’

Irish Examiner, 03/04/2013

Vets fear this little dog suffered devastating injuries after being used as bait in an illegal dog fight.  see more

  


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




Man fined €800 after greyhounds found dead

Irish Examiner, 26/04/2013

A man handed over two greyhounds to a third party who shot them in the head, after they showed no promise of chasing hares, a court heard yesterday.

  Avoiding paying a vet €80 to have each dog humanely put down by injection, John Corkery gave the animals to a man who shot them.

  The two dogs were found, along with four other greyhounds rotting in a disused quarry at Ballyagran, Co Limerick, on Apr 10, 2012.

  Corkery, aged 53, a well-known greyhound trainer, had been rearing the dogs for coursing competitions and track racing events.

  The owners of the remaining four dead dogs found are unknown.

  Inspector Eamon O’Neill told Newcastle West District Court the case was “the first of its kind” to be brought before court after legislation, under the Welfare of Greyhounds Act was introduced in Nov 2011.

  Corkery, of Love Lane, Charleville, Co Cork, pleaded guilty to one count of forging his son’s name as the registered owner of a greyhound Rathluirc Sham.

  He also pleaded guilty to failing to notify the Irish Coursing Board of the transfer of ownership of Kildangan Dawn.

  Judge Mary Larkin noted that, despite his guilty pleas, Corkery would not identity the person who shot the two dogs.

  Solicitor Denis Linehan said: “From the outset, he put his hands up to this.”

  Inspector O’Neill agreed, without the pleas of guilt, it would have been “difficult” for gardaí to secure a prosecution.

“It is the inhumane manner in which the dogs were put down that gives the gravest offence,” Judge Larkin said. She fined Mr Corkery €300 for the forgery charge and €500 for the failing to notify transfer of ownership offence.

The Irish Greyhound Board last night said it welcomed the “successful prosecution”.

“The IGB have worked with the gardaí in bringing about this successful prosecution to ensure the full facts of the case were investigated. It is hoped that today’s prosecution will act as a deterrent and ensure that all owners and trainers

will be compliant with the act in the future,” it said.

IGB welfare manager Barry Coleman added: “The IGB condemns all acts of neglect towards greyhounds and encourages, at all times, responsible ownership practices. This first ever prosecution under the Welfare of Greyhounds Act 2011, which   the IGB helped develop, sets a strong precedent for the future and should further reinforce our tough stance against any potential transgressors.”



Cork man fined for forging son's name

Irish Examiner, 25/04/2013

A Cork man has been fined €800 after pleading guilty to charges in connection with the shooting of greyhounds last year.

  In what was the first case of its type in the country, John Corkery pleaded guilty to forging his son's name as the registered owner of a greyhound.

  The 53-year old from Love Lane, Charleville, also pleaded guilty to failing to notify the Irish Coursing Board of a transfer of ownership in relation to a greyhound.

  The dogs were two of four found shot in the head in a disused quarry in Co Limerick in April last year.

  Mr Corkery told Gardaí he handed over the two dogs to a third party to dispose of after they showed no promise in chasing hares.



Dog found under a pile of rubbish with his skull smashed is on the mendThe vet said the hunting dog, Fionn, had received a severe blunt force trauma to the head.

The Journal.ie, 24/12/2013

(http://www.thejournal.ie/fionn-dog-found-under-rubbish-cork-1236391-Dec2013/)

THE CORK DOG Action Welfare Group (CDAWG) is caring for a dog that was left to die in the woods last week.

The dog, who the welfare group called Fionn, was found by someone out walking in the woods.

He was lying in a spot where people dump rubbish and the vet who examined him said he had suffered a severe blow to the head. There were fears that Fionn might not be able to walk or that he may die, but after receiving great care at the shelter, he is said to be on the mend.

Speaking to TheJournal.ie, Margaret Twohig of CDAWG said it is believed that Fionn was in the ownership of a hunting club. She said that ownership of Fionn has been transferred to the the Dog Action Welfare Group.

She added that the person who owned Fionn has been identified and she has been told by the club the owner of Fionn has been expelled from the club.

Animal Rights

“The keeper of Fionn also had other hounds in his care and we have been told that these dogs have been removed from the premises,” she said.

“We wanted a commitment from the group that his dogs would be removed,” she said.

When Fionn was found she said he was barely alive and was cold to the touch. “He was covered in cuts and pressure sores, a mere skeleton, unable to move. It looked like he had been put there, in amongst the rubbish and left to die. The rain pouring down on his poor body,” she said.

The group called him Fionn after the legendary Celtic hero Fionn Mac Cumhail. They said it was the perfect name for him, as he was a great Irish warrior who fought and won many battles and had a special love for hounds.

X-rays revealed that he has a fractured skull due to a blunt force trauma to the head and they feared that he would not survive. However, in what Twohig describes as a “Christmas miracle” he was standing and walking yesterday.

“The latest update from the vet is that Fionn is on the mend,” said Twohig. The vet said that looking at Fionn when he came in he did not think he was going to make it. “With a fractured skull, there was a possibility of brain damage or that he could have been paralysed, but it is great that he is up walking today,” she said.

Since the group posted Fionn’s story on Facebook, Twohig said they have been inundated with messages and support for Fionn from all over the world.

“We have received messages from the UK, Germany and South Africa, all wishing him well and asking for updates. An animal welfare group in Sweden is even holding a fundraiser for him,” she said, adding that she has never seen such a great public reaction to one story. “He really has touched people’s hearts,” she said.

She said that many people have offered Fionn a home but that they had to wait and see how he gets on over the Christmas.

While she said that Fionn’s story had obviously resonated with people, she said that they receive many calls about abandoned hounds.

She said that animal welfare rights “don’t mean much in this country” adding that there are people in power that can strengthen the laws.

Worst time for animal cruelty

She also said that while she has never had such an overwhelming reaction to Fionn’s story, that this is one of the worst times she has witnessed in animal cruelty, stating that while there are a lot of kind people out there, some people seem to have become “indifferent” to animals.

She urged people, especially at this time of year, to think about what it means to care for an animal, adding that puppies are not just for Christmas, they deserve to be loved, just like Fionn did, she said.

Cork Dog Action Welfare Group is a voluntary group and relies on donations. To find out more about the group please click here.



Elderly man banned from keeping dogs in ‘graphic and horrific’ caseThe 80-year-old was also handed down a three-month suspended sentence after the ISPCA discovered four dead dogs and four emaciated Collies at his property in Cork.

The Journal.ie, 21/11/2013

AN 80-YEAR-OLD man has been banned from ever owning a dog again in a case described as “the most graphic and horrific” the garda inspector had seen.

  Andrew Doherty of Rowels, Meelin in Cork was convicted of animal cruelty and handed a three-month suspended sentence.

  “If he was a younger man, I would lock him straight up without hesitation,” said presiding judge Brian Sheridan.

Last February, ISPCA inspector Lisa O’Donovan visited Doherty’s property following a complaint to the charity’s helpline. On gaining access, she found four emaciated Collies locked in “filthy dark sheds”.

  She also discovered four Collies which had already died. One was still chained within the shed.

  The live dogs were described as “skeletal”, with one weighing in at only 5.5kg, less than one third of its optimum weight.

  According to animal welfare group, the dogs were extremely nervous on being rescued. “It took hours of gentle coaxing to get even the slightest wag of a tail,” it said.

  “This was a particularly horrendous act of cruelty,” added O’Donovan. “Although we managed to save four of the dogs, one cannot help but think of the poor dogs that perished.”

Speaking in court, Judge Sheridan praised the work of the ISPCA and, in particular, the welfare inspector Lisa O’Donovan who he said had “persisted” on seeing the other property on Doherty’s holding, despite being told an untruth by him.

  The four surviving dogs were taken to the ISPCA’s National Animal Centre where they underwent months of rehabilitation to address their physical and mental problems.  All were eventually rehomed with experienced owners where they needed more time to overcome their difficult pasts.

  “This case highlights what the work of the ISPCA is all about” said the society’s Chief Inspector Conor Dowling, “the 3 R’s – Rescue, Rehabilitation and Rehoming. And, when there is evidence of a criminal offence of cruelty, we will endeavour to have those responsible held accountable”.



Farmer jailed for 18 months over 'appalling' cruelty to starved ponies

Irish Independent, 09/12/2015

A farmer was jailed for 18 months for cruelty to animals after five ponies were so badly starved on his farm they had to be put down.

  Judge James McNulty described as "absolutely appalling" the condition of the ponies discovered by Department of Agriculture inspectors on land owned by Kenneth Coombes (50) last year.

  Coombes, of The Carrig, Lurriga, Skibbereen, Co Cork, has a total of 26 previous convictions dating back over 10 years, 20 for neglect or cruelty to animals.

  In 2007, he was jailed for 30 days and warned to never again own, care for or manage farm animals.

  That sentence was imposed after Coombes was convicted of causing cruelty to pigs and dogs, failing to bury dead animals and allowing one carcass to rot on the roof of a shed on his 36-acre farm.

  Judge McNulty warned Skibbereen District Court that, despite this, Coombes still appeared to have animals in his care.

  Coombes was convicted on three charges of animal cruelty relating to ponies and dogs on various dates between May 29 and July 1, 2014.

  "These five ponies were effectively starved to death," the judge said.

Judge McNulty noted Coombes's multiple previous convictions for animal cruelty.

  He imposed six-month prison sentences on all three charges.

However, he said that, in light of his repeat behaviour, he was directing that all three sentences be served consecutively, meaning he received an 18-month term.



HORROR CRUELTY PROBED AS DOG HAS ITS FOUR PAWS CUT OFF

Evening Echo, 31/08/2015

A DOG had its four paws cut off while it was still alive in a case which is under garda investigation in west Cork.

  The recent incident also involved the skinning of the animal. The matter has been reported to vets and gardaí in west Cork.The story is revealed today as animal welfare workers report that five files about animal cruelty incidents in Cork are currently being considered by the Director of Public Prosecutions.

  The cases related to the discovery of three unlicenced puppy farms and two incidents of deliberate cruelty to dogs.

  The three puppy farms were discovered in the past three months in different areas of the county, according to the Irish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

  The society’s inspector for Cork, Lisa O’Donovan, said she could not reveal specific details but she said that in one case, 13 dogs were removed from a premises.

  She added: “A puppy farm, or a breeding establishment, is somewhere with six bitches or more. One of the places we came across had 30 to 40 dogs.” Ms O’Donovan said that files for the DPP were completed with cooperation from gardaí and the Department of Agriculture.

  The Department of Agriculture has a hotline for those wishing to report instances of animal cruelty. It can be contacted at 1850 211 990 or animalwelfare@agriculture.gov.ie.

  The recent killing of Marvin, a Jack Russell dog in Mayfield, resulted in a huge outcry among the horrified public. He was found badly injured by gardaí in a ditch on August 15 and died from his injuries.



Cork pig farmer pleads guilty to cruelty and neglect

Irish Examiner, 05/02/2015

Defendant failed to treat or euthanise a pig after it was left in pen to be eaten alive

  The owner of a Mitchelstown pig farm pleaded guilty yesterday to cruelty and neglect in relation to animals, including one count of an animal being left in a pen to be eaten alive.

  A jury of nine men and three women was sworn in yesterday morning after Rory O’Brien and his wife Monica O’Brien of Killicane, Mitchelstown, Co Cork, and the farm manager, Seamus Curran of Kiltrislane, Mitchelstown, pleaded not guilty to a total of 88 counts related to alleged cruelty to animals.

  However, lawyers in the case spent the following hour in discussions outside the courtroom on Washington St, Cork, and, by the time they returned to court, there was no longer a need for a trial. Alice Fawsett, prosecution senior counsel, said the Director of Public Prosecutions was entering a nolle prosequi on all charges against Monica O’Brien and Seamus Curran. That saw them cleared of all charges and free to go.

  Rory O’Brien, who had pleaded not guilty to 32 counts on the indictment, was then re-arraigned on five counts and he pleaded guilty to all five.

  Kenneth Fogarty, defence senior counsel, said that sentencing was likely to take longer than normal and that a number of witnesses would have to be called.   He intends to call the defendant’s accountant and a veterinary expert in mitigation.

  Sentencing was adjourned by Judge Seán Ó Donnabháin until February 12. He asked the prosecution if they had had any objection to the accused, Mr O’Brien, being remanded on bail.

  Ms Fawsett SC said he had been on bail, there was no objection to him being on continuing bail, and there were no prosecution fears about the accused not turning up for sentencing.

  Two of the charges to which O’Brien pleaded guilty carry maximum penalties of three years imprisonment and/or a €100,000 fine. The other three carry maximum penalties of two years and/or a €10,000 fine.

  Mr Fogarty SC suggested he might apply for a probation report at the time of sentencing. Judge Ó Donnabháin asked what he hoped to achieve by this. The senior counsel said that it would be a factor if community service was a possibility.

  “They [the probation service] might say he would be better on the side of the road picking up pieces of paper than sitting in prison,” said Mr Fogarty.

Before the jury was selected yesterday morning Judge Seán Ó Donnabháin warned the panel that the case could last seven to 10 days.

  The five charges to which Mr O’Brien pleaded guilty were, as follows:

  1. That he did between May 3 and Sept 8, 2011, at Killicane, Mitchelstown, fail to take the necessary steps to ensure the welfare of pigs in his possession or under his control and that he failed to ensure the animals were not caused unnecessary suffering or injury by failing to treat or euthanise them.
  2. That at the same place during the period June 7 to 10, 2011 he failed to comply with a welfare notice dated June 7, 2011, relating to animals in his possession or under his control or care.
  3. That on May 9, 2011, he caused unnecessary suffering to a pig by failing to treat or euthanise it after its flesh was extensively eaten on its ribcage.
  4. That on June 3, 2011, he caused unnecessary suffering to a boar by failing to treat or euthanise it when it had swollen joints and chronic abscesses.
  5. That on July 25, 2011, he caused unnecessary suffering to a pig by failing to treat or euthanise it after it was eaten alive, damaging its left side, leaving a large bleeding wound.


Farmer admits to cruelty after pig is eaten alive

Irish Independent, 05/02/2015

A LARGE-scale Irish farmer pleaded guilty to animal cruelty after admitting he caused unnecessary suffering to a pig by failing to treat it after it was found eaten alive.

  Pig farmer Rory O'Brien pleaded guilty to a total of five animal cruelty charges before Cork Circuit Criminal Court.

  Judge Seán Ó Donnabháin was told that O'Brien of Killicane, Mitchelstown, Co Cork was admitting five charges brought under animal welfare regulations.

  Rory O'Brien and his wife, Monica, and their farm manager, Seamus Curran, pleaded not guilty to a total of 88 charges relating to various allegations of animal cruelty on dates between May 3 and September 8, 2011. Rory O'Brien faced a total of 32 counts.

  Curran has an address of Kiltrislane, Mitchelstown, Co Cork.

  Judge Ó Donnabháin was told, after a jury was sworn in to hear the case, that Rory O'Brien could be re-arraigned on five of the charges.

  He confirmed a guilty plea on all five charges and the court was told that the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) was formally entering a nolle prosequi or 'no prosecution' order in respect of all outstanding charges against Monica O'Brien and Seamus Curran.

  Both were discharged.


Charges

The charges to which the farmer pleaded guilty included that on July 25 2011 he caused unnecessary suffering to a pig by failing to treat or euthanise it after it was found eaten alive with a large bleeding wound on its left side at Killicane, Mitchelstown.

  He also admitted that, between May 3 and September 8 2011, he failed to take the necessary measures to ensure the welfare of the pigs under his control and that he failed to ensure the animals were not caused unnecessary suffering or injury by failing to treat or euthanise them.

  O'Brien also admitted that, between June 7 and 10 2011, he failed to comply with a welfare notice relating to the animals in his possession or under his control and care, the notice being dated June 7.

  The farmer admitted that, on May 9 2011, he caused unnecessary suffering to a pig by failing to treat or euthanise it after it had its flesh extensively eaten out of its ribcage.

  Finally, he admitted that, on June 3 2011, he caused unnecessary suffering to a boar by failing to treat or euthanise it when it had swollen joints and serious abscesses.

  Judge Ó Donnabháin was asked to adjourn sentencing in the matter to allow for the preparation of expert reports.

  He was told the State had no objection to O'Brien being remanded on continuing bail.

  Judge Ó Donnabháin remanded him for sentencing on February 12.

  The most serious charges against O'Brien carry a maximum penalty of a fine of up to €100,000 and/or up to three years imprisonment.

  The three lesser charges carry penalties of a fine of up to €10,000 and/or two years imprisonment.

  Rory O'Brien ranked as one of the largest-scale pig farmers in Ireland.

  He waged a high-profile campaign against the closure by Dairygold of its Galtee Meats plant in Mitchelstown back in 2007.

  The plant - one of Ireland's biggest pigmeat processing facilities - closed with the loss of almost 500 jobs as part of the rationalisation of Dairygold operations.



Pig farmer jailed after starving pigs ate each other alive has sentence reduced

Irish Independent, 24/07/2015

A pig farmer, who admitted causing unnecessary suffering to a pig by failing to treat it after it was found eaten alive on his farm, has had his 18 month jail term reduced to 12 on appeal.

  Rory O'Brien (60) of Killicane, Mitchelstown, Co Cork, had pleaded guilty at Cork Circuit Criminal Court to five counts of animal cruelty at his farm on dates between May and September 2011.

  O'Brien had been indicted on 32 counts – three in respect of the welfare of animals, two for failing to comply with a notice and 27 for cruelty – and similar charges were brought against his wife and the farm manager.

  However, on the morning of his trial he pleaded guilty to five counts on a full facts basis and the remaining charges against all three accused were withdrawn by the Director of Public Prosecutions.

  He was sentenced to 18 months imprisonment by Judge Seán Ó Donnabháin on February 12 2015.

  Moving to appeal his sentence Friday, Ken Fogarty SC, for O'Brien, submitted that the trial judge was “clearly influenced” by facts relating to counts which were not before the court.

  The sentencing judge referred to 17,000 pigs and 'cruelty on an industrial scale' but there were only three animals involved in the cruelty to which O'Brien had pleaded guilty, Mr Fogarty said.

  Speaking on behalf of the three-judge Court of Appeal today, Mr Justice Garrett Sheehan said the court wished to emphasise that it acknowledged these offences as “extremely serious”.

  “That goes without saying and the facts of this case speak for themselves.”

However, it was undoubtedly a fact also that O'Brien was under considerable pressure at the time, Mr Justice Sheehan said.

  The court heard he was €22 million in debt, was effectively “bankrupt” and struggling to wind down his business at the time.

  Mr Justice Sheehan said the sentencing judge was “perfectly correct” in holding that a custodial sentence was necessary and the Court of Appeal endorsed that view.

  However, in identifying an error in his sentence, Mr Justice Sheehan said O'Brien was entitled to have his personal qualities and contributions to his community taken into account as mitigating factors.

  O'Brien was a 60-year-old married man with a grown-up family who had clearly worked hard all his life and had a previous good character, the judge said.

  At one stage he employed 40 people and he was making a serious contribution to a particularly important agricultural industry, he added.

  Mr Justice Sheehan, who sat with Mr Justice George Birmingham and Mr Justice Alan Mahon, said the court would leave the original sentence of 18 months in place but would suspend the final 6 months.

  O'Brien had admitted causing unnecessary suffering to a pig by failing to treat or euthanise it after it was found eaten alive with a large bleeding wound on its side at his farm on July 25 2011.

  He had also admitted causing unnecessary suffering to a pig by failing to treat or euthanise it after it had its flesh extensively eaten out of its ribcage on May 9 2011 and that he caused unnecessary suffering to a pig by failing to treat or euthanise it when it had swollen joints and serious abscesses on June 3 2011.

  O'Brien had also admitted failing to take the necessary measures to ensure the welfare of pigs under his control and that he failed to ensure the animals were not caused unnecessary suffering or injury by failing to treat or euthanise them between May 3 and September 8 2011.

  Furthermore, O’Brien had admitted that between June 7 and 10 2011, he failed to comply with a welfare notice relating to animals in his possession or under his control and care.