Irish Independent

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A THREE MONTH OLD lurcher puppy had its throat slashed in a horrific attack in Portlaoise, Co Laois yesterday afternoon.  see more

Victory for ISPCA as court bans man

The Star, 23/01/2005

These are the horrific pictures taken inside a recently discovered puppy farm, revealing the horror of the conditions dogs are forced to love in.

  The woeful state of the two farms, Ballyinan, Co Laois, were described as some of the worst the Irish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals have experienced.

  But thanks to the pioneering work of the ISPCA, both farms were shut down for good earlier this week.

  The owner of the dogs, Liam Burke (66), has been barred from ever owning a dog again.

  The case is the first ever prosecution against a puppy farm owner in this country and the victory is seen as a major coup for the ISPCA.

  ISPCA inspector Conor Dowling revealed that the woeful conditions up to 30 dogs were forced to live in were some of the worst he has ever seen.

  As our exclusive pictures show, dogs ravaged with skin disorders were locked inside makeshift pens with no bedding.

  “The conditions the dogs were being kept in were atrocious and there was no cleaning being done,” Conor said.


  “There was a thin layer of faeces on the ground and there was a very strong smell of urine, no bedding and old bones lying around.”

Mange, a skin disorder which causes a dog to literally tear of its coat, was rampant in the ramshackle farm.

  “There were a numb8er of dogs that were in poor physical condition and there were a number of dogs with bad skin complaints as well.

  “A lot of the dogs had traces of mange, a lot of them were bald around the eyes. It is a matter of it not being treated and it being allowed to escalate to that stage,” Conor added.

The farm’s owner Liam Burke was well known to ISPCA officials, according to Dowling.

  “He has a bit of history and we have had an involvement before.

  “I believe there were some health factors whic6h perhaps tipped it over the edge but he was always walking a tightrope.”

Last month, Burke, who had previously undergone triple bypass surgery, pleaded guilty to two charges under the 1911 Cruelty to Animals Act/

  The maximum penalty in such a case is a €2,000 fine and/or six months imprisonment.  However, due to the man’s ill health and age, Judge Mary Martin let the dog owner off lightly and ordered him to pay €1,000 for the cost of the investigation, while banning him from owning a dog again.


Earlier this week, Carlow District Court hear the Loughglass farm was in an “appalling state” with 10 makeshift pens in a barn reeking of urine.  Inspectors found a nine-week-old puppy with an infected cut at Ballyadams.

  Despite the success of the case the ISPCA has been left with severe financial woes. The cost of housing Burke’s dogs during the court proceedings cost almost €10,000.

  Apart from a small grant from the department of Agriculture, the ISPCA is dependent on donations and fundraising to keep its vital operation in existence.

  “We are appealing for donations at the moment to help us cover these costs.”

You can make a donation to the Society by visiting www.ispca,ie

Group lands €10,000 bill for rescuing dogs

Irish Independent, 20/01/2005

An animal welfare group is out of pocket by €10,000 after it had to look after dogs taken from a puppy farm whose owner was yesterday convicted of cruelty.

  Liam Burke, who is in his 60s, with three farms, in Co Laois, pleaded guilty to two charges of cruelty under the Animal Cruelty Act in not providing basic care for two black Labradors and one terrier and not providing adequate medical care for a pup whose wound had become infected.

  Burke has farms at Loughtglass, Ballyadams and Ballylinan.  The dogs and puppies involved included Labradors, terriers and German Shepards.

  Judge Mary Martin fined Burke €1,000 payable to the ISPCA, gave him the Probation Act and banned him from keeping dogs for life.

  However, Judge Martin, at Carlow District Court, refused to grant an application by the ISPCA to be paid the €10,000 it has cost to look after the dogs.

  Garda Brendan Shelly previously told the court that Burke’s barn at Loughglass was inspected by the ISPCA, the dog warden and a vet on February 5 last.  He described the premises as “appalling.”

  The animals were in varying states of deprivation, some with wound infections.

  Burke had been breeding dogs commercially for seven years.

  The court had heard the case was “as bad as they came” in terms of negligence towards animal care.  Evidence was given that the Loughglass premises was inspected again on December 8.  The dog warden found there were 29 dogs and two puppies there.

  Defence barrister Paul O’Shea, BL, agreed his client would release the dogs into the ownership of the ISPCA after the court heard that Burke who underwent a triple by-pass and could not work anymore.

  Judge Martin said it was a “bad case” but took into consideration Burke’s health problems.

  After the case, Brendan Hughes, ISPCA regional officer said they were pleased the owner was banned from keeping dogs.  But he warned that the ISPCA’s failure to recoup the cost for minding the animals could affect its future service.

New raids on puppy farms free animals in distress

A dog’s life…but is was never meant to be like this, full of cruelty and neglect

Irish Independent, 07/02/2004

An animal welfare group’s war against people running puppy farms continued in Laois and Offaly yesterday as 73 dogs, many in distress, were found during a two-day raid.  ISPCA officers, gardai and veterinary inspectors found 58 of the dogs at one particular location in Laois.  The dogs included newborn puppies, terriers, German Shepherds, collies, Labradors and Poms. Many were malnourished, mange-ridden and ulcerated.

  Ireland is the chief puppy farm location in Europe, and has no regulations governing the industry. Irish dogs are regularly sent to the UK or to the US.

  ISPCA officials hope the latest swoop in a nationwide clampdown on unregulated puppy farms will spur punters not to buy dogs from such dealers. On average each month the ISPCA raids one or two puppy farms which can house 10 to 500 animals.

  The ISPCA wants punishment for those who keep dogs in such conditions to be dealt with by the courts. Alastair Keen, ISPCA operations director, said many of the dogs were held in small cages with no real shelter or bedding.

  “We now want to see more consistency when these cases are brought to court and want (these) people to be banned from keeping dogs for life. Fines and even jail terms will not suffice,” he said.

Those involved in one raid waded through up to 12 inches of mud, fac6es and urine to locate the puppies. All the dogs are being catalogued and transported to the Ulster SPCA, as all the ISPCA’s facilities are full.  Officials are hoping all the dogs found in Co Laois will survive.

  Last week, gardai and animal cruelty inspectors removed 110 Dachshunds from a farm in north Co Tipperary where they were kept in freezing conditions without running water.  Twenty-one of the dogs were found in dark and cold conditions in boxes in an old cottage, while 17 puppies were found in cages in an old van used specifically for storage of animals.  Seventy-two other dogs were kept in an open yard in pens – some of which were made from old wooden pallets and rope. Brendan Hughes, another ISPCA inspector, said Ireland was infamous for being the “puppy farm capital” of Europe, and was home to cruel and barbaric breeders who sold the young dogs for massive profits.

  “It can be very, very lucrative when you realise that these people spend virtually no money on premises and they spend little or no money on veterinary care,” he told RTE radio.

He said a Cavalier Kind Charles Spaniel could sell for €300 to €350, and puppy farms were selling up to 700 dogs per year in the UK and the US.

  Mr Hughes said the ISPCA depended on tip-offs from the public. “Without those people contacting us directly we would never know about these things because most of these puppy farms are in out-of-the-way places,” he said.

  “They are very secretive because the conditions are so bad and people don’t want anybody to know what kind of conditions they are keeping these animals in.”

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.

Farmer fined for starving horse

Irish Times, 12/04/2008

A farmer who allowed an old horse to starve on his land has been fined and ordered to pay more than €3,300 in expenses to the ISPCA. The animal was described by an examining vet as being "the skinniest horse" he had ever seen.

 John Dunphy (53) with an address at Knockanoran, Durrow, Co. Laois appeared before Portlaoise District Court yesterday.  

  Brendan Hughes, an animal welfare inspector with the ISPCA, told the court the only reason the horse was not destroyed was due to the care given by vets at UCD.  

 Josephine Fitzpatrick, solicitor for Mr. Dunphy said her client had separated from his wife and that he had "put his head in the sand in relation to the horse".

Two puppies beaten and thrown over 10-foot wall in PortlaoiseThe two eight-week-old pups had been abandoned behind the high wall for about four days, leaving them severely dehydrated., 05/06/2013

TWO EIGHT-WEEK-OLD puppies are recovering at a veterinary surgery in Co Laois after they were discovered on Monday close to death in a housing estate in Portlaoise.

  The two young pups were found by local residents and taken to the vets by volunteers from the charity Cara Rescue Dogs.

  Speaking to, Lorraine McEvoy of Cara Rescue said that they were both suffering from dehydration, having been left in the sun with no water for a long period of time.

  “The little girl [above], it looks like her face has been chewed at by wildlife, maybe a rat or a possibly a crow pecked away at her while she was lying there,” she said. “She’s also blind and we don’t know if that’s because of the trauma or something else but she has bruising around her eye, lots of burst blood vessels.”

  “The boy was crying, in a lot of pain and went unconscious on the way over to the vets so the volunteer thought he was dead, I mean they’re both just in tatters.”

She said the puppies, named Alfie and Lexi, could hardly walk and when they did it was “just in small circles”. The vet has also said that Lexi, the female, has a heart murmur which could significantly shorten her life span.

  It is thought that a local resident owned the pups and no longer wanted them so disposed of them behind the high wall in a ditch area that leads to a railway track. McEvoy said she thinks they had been there for about four days.

  She said that it is thought that the dogs were beaten before being abandoned and has been told by the vet that Alfie, the male pup [pictured above], “screams when they go to pick him up and flinches like he doesn’t want to be touched”.

Despite this, and Lexi’s heart condition, McEvoy said the charity will find them a home and has already arranged a foster placement for them.

  “I’ll find them a home, even the little girl,” she said. “If she can have any quality of life and enjoy a cuddle, enjoy her food, we’ll give her roast chicken for the rest of her life but we’re going to save her.”

One thing is for sure, this duo is not likely to be separated as Lexi has taken to following her brother around everywhere, even though she can’t see him.

“This was just blatent cruelty that what drives me mad is that there’s just no reason for it”, McEvoy added.