Munster Express, 11/4/2003
John O'Connor weekly column

Ancient law invoked against man who shot at crow I have always felt a little nervous and uncomfortable around guns and I think it is only right and proper that the gardai are vigilant when it comes to granting or revoking firearm licences. That said, I thought a young man from County Offaly was rather harshly treated last week when he appeared in court following a complaint made by a member of the public. Garda J.K. Sheehy told Judge Thomas Fitzpatrick that the 20-year-old defendant, who had no previous convictions, pulled his jeep into a gateway at the side of the road before getting out and shooting into the field at the crow. However the driver of another vehicle objected to what was happening and made a complaint to the gardai. Superintendent Charles Devine told the Court the defendant could have been charged under the Public Order Act but it was deemed more appropriate to prosecute him on the lesser charge of 'discharging a weapon within sixty feet of the centre of a public road'. Defence solicitor Bernadette Owens said her client admitted that he had fired at the crow but, because he was in the recess of a gateway, he did not think he was on the public road. As a consequence of his action, the gun had been confiscated and his firearm licence revoked. The Act under which the defendant was prosecuted is the Summary Jurisdiction Act of 1851 which has a maximum fine of ten shillings so Judge Fitzpatrick felt obliged to call a calculator before imposing a fine of 63 cent to be paid forthwith. The court wasn't told why the man shot at the poor old crow in the first place and whether or not the defendant actually hit the bird with his shot.

Poisoners use pigeons as live bait to kill buzzards

Irish Examiner, 27/08/2011

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

Warrant out for farmer on cruelty charges

Irish Independent, 07/01/2006

a warrant for the arrest of a farmer was issued yesterday after he failed to appear in court on charges of animal cruelty.

Concern has been expressed for the welfare of 30 ponies on the man’s land near Clonmore, four miles from the town of Edenderyy, Co Offaley.

Farmer Joseph McNamee (63) was not present when his case was called at a District Court hearing where he was to face two charges in relation to his treatment of animals.

Gardai were also seeking an order so that the ponies on Mr McNamee’s farm could be removed by them.

A herd of cattle was removed by gardai from Mr McNamee’s property before Christmas because of welfare issues.

Judge John Neilan said it appeared to him that Mr McNamee was either incompetent or incapable of looking after the animals.

The judge was also critical of the Department of Agriculture, which he said could have taken appropriate action to take the animals away.

An inspector for the Department was present in court and said that officials had already seized a herd before Christmas and that there was now concern about the food-stuff which had been left for the ponies.

Let me keep my ponies.

Cruelty farmer makes horse appeal.

Sunday World, 15/01/2006

The ageing farmer accused of cruelty to animals said he wants to keep his herd of rare Celtic ponies, despite being told he was to hand them over.  see more

Horse slaughter house operations suspended in Offaly

Breaking, 14/03/2013

It has been revealed that one of two plants that slaughter horses here has been suspended from operations following a Department of Agriculture inspection last Friday.

  Officials who visited Ossory Meats in Offaly found problems with 25 horses.

  These included issues with the horse markings being different to those noted on their passports and some of those presented as being yearlings being much older.

  An interim report on the mislabelling of meat says the incident is extraordinary, particularly the brazenness in attempting to have these animals slaughtered at a time when controls had been enhanced.

  Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney said: "I should firstly express my concern at the incident which occurred only last Friday in Ossory Meats.

  "What gave rise to the incident at Ossory Meats and the subsuquent suspension of the plant is totally unacceptable and will be pursued with full vigour

Mother and daughter plead guilty to cruelty to horses

Irish Times, 27/01/2009

A mother and daughter have been banned from keeping horses, ponies and donkeys for 10 years following convictions for animal cruelty.  Judge Gerard Haughton described as “horrific” images of three ponies whose unpared hoofs caused so much pain that the ISPCA had no choice but to put them to sleep.

  Ester and Caitriona Molony, Ballindoolin House, Edenderry, Co Offaly, each pleaded guilty to three counts of animal cruelty at Edenderry District Court.  The ponies were seized by the ISPCA last May but inspector Brendan Hughes said they had been left for up to four years without foot-care. This resulted in two of the animals developing curled hooves.

  In one case the hooves of a 20 year-old mare were 18 inches long and had curled into the animal’s forelock, breaking skin and causing infection and scarring. A 10-year-old gelding developed extremely painful cloven feet as its untended hooves grew inwards because of its different bone structure.  Mr Hughes said this animal had possibly been in more pain than the others, despite his less obvious appearance of physical suffering, because he would have been forced to walk on his toes at all times.

  Despite extensive veterinary care and significant farrier treatment, a decision was made by the ISPCA to put them to sleep to prevent further suffering.  A member of the public had alerted the ISPCA to the plight of the animals, which were kept in a paddock at the back of the house.

  The court heard that the women had difficulty in getting a farrier to attend the farm, possibly because they had reduced the number of equines in their care and the fattier may have deemed it not worth his while.

  In their grief following the death of Ester Molony’s husband, Robert, in January 2007, they had been under enormous pressure to maintain the house and farm and were only able to prevent their sale because of ground rents accruing from properties belonging to Mrs Molony in Dublin.

  Nevan O’Shaughnessy said his clients, who run a working harm and who open stately Ballindoolin House to the public, were mortified and embarrassed. He described them as “extremely respectable people.”

  Caitriona Molony waited in the courtroom with her four-week-old son until the case was heard after one o’clock.

  Judge Gerard Haughton, who described images of the neglect as “horrific”, said he would not accept the defence of the farrier not turning up because the “very obvious neglect” had been going on for several years.

  He ordered the Molonys to pay costs of over €500 to the ISPCA which is to be informed if the women wished to have the ban lifted on appeal.

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.”

Puppies found in van on way to UL

Irish Independent, 13/02/2004

Thirty puppy dogs have been found crammed into a van on a 13-hour journey to England.

The 30 puppies, thought to be en route from an Offaly puppy farm to a Lincolnshire pet shop, were followed on the Holyhead ferry by ISPCA inspectors. However, when stopped by police and examined, none of the dogs were found to be suffering under the legal condition, and the van was allowed to continue on its journey.