AT a recent sitting of Cork Circuit Court in Bandon, Judge Sean Ó Donnabháin said a Skibbereen man was more ‘suitable for Rathmore Road than looking after animals’ – referring to Cork prison.
Judge Ó Donnabháin was speaking in relation to the case of Kenneth Coombes from The Carrig, Lurriga, Skibbereen, who was appealing a 18-month prison sentence for animal cruelty that was handed down last December by Judge James McNulty.
The court heard that veterinary inspectors carried out a number of inspections on the farm between May and June 2014.
When the inspectors called to the farm they found a number of animals, including household animals, in appalling conditions.
They inspected the farm again on June 5th and found ponies confined in a pen which was covered in dung. On the same date they found ponies on a quarter acre site with little grass to eat. The inspectors also found 30 poultry on the farm that had no water and on June 11th they removed the poultry and rehomed them.
When the inspectors called to the farm on July 1st they found two dogs barking in a dwelling and they saw one dog tied to the chair. When the inspectors asked Mr Coombes for a key to the dwelling, he said he didn’t have the keys, as it was his mother’s property.
Ray Hennessy, solicitor for Mr Coombes, said they were appealing the severity of the sentence.
But the court heard that Mr Coombes had already a large number of previous convictions for animal cruelty, which had been going on for a number of years. He also pointed out that Department of Agriculture officials have also tried to help him too, but without much success.
Judge Ó Donnabháin said Mr Coombes should not be left near any animal and that he has to be stopped.
‘Not alone did Mr Coombes put animals in squalor, he also penned them in,’ said the judge.
Mary O’Sullivan, with whom Mr Coombes is currently residing, told Judge Ó Donnabháín that the defendant had been living with her since his last court appearance in December 2015 and that she can supervise him. She said she has animals herself but he has no access to them and that he helps her working on the farm.
The judge adjourned the case until October 4th on condition that Mr Coombes continues to live with Mary O’Sullivan and that he has no animals in his control or possession.