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Farmer exercised ‘awful’ cruelty as chained dog found cowering

March 5th, 2024 10:00 PM

Farmer exercised ‘awful’ cruelty as chained dog found cowering Image

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A FARMER who kept dogs and ducks in ‘appalling’ conditions on a small farm in Co Cork was convicted of animal cruelty at a recent sitting of Macroom District Court.

Michael Bradley (78) of Ballinagree West, Macroom, faced a total of 29 charges all relating to animal cruelty at his smallholding in Ballinagree.

He pleaded guilty to 10 charges and a further 19 charges were withdrawn by the prosecution.

Acting for the Department of Agriculture, Shane O’Callaghan BL asked ISPCA animal welfare inspector Emma Carroll to outline the details of the case against Mr Bradley.

Ms Carroll told the court that a report was received in July 2022 and that she and a colleague carried out an inspection on July 12, 2022. Ms Carroll said that when she arrived at the property there were a large number of fowl in the yard which was strewn with rubbish.

She said inside a stone shed she found mounds of dog faeces covered in mould. Inside the building she found an ‘extremely nervous’ and ‘almost hairless and lifeless’ collie dog kept on a chain. Further into the building she found another five dogs, all kept in individual runs. She said that the dogs were in very poor condition, some showing signs of parasites. The dogs’ bedding was dirty.

She also discovered a brown and white collie dog ‘cowering’ chained to a wall.. There were also five puppies with the dog which had ‘wormy’ stomachs and were in poor condition. There was also an empty bucket but no water or food was observed. In the yard she also discovered seven ducks in a trailer with no natural light and no water or food.

Ms Carroll said that at this point Mr Bradley arrived at the property and became offensive in his manner.

He told her that he ‘did not have the heart’ to put down the dog that was suffering from severe mange. He said that the dogs had to be chained to prevent them from killing fowl. He also told her that a local vet had attended to the dogs.

Ms Carroll said that Mr Bradley told her that the ducks had been kept in the trailer for more than a year and had their wings clipped. He said that they were wild ducks that someone had brought to him and admitted that the conditions they were kept in were ‘not ideal’.

Ms Carroll said that when asked if he thought there was anything wrong with the conditions the animals were being kept in, he replied that he didn’t.

When she told him that he would have to surrender the animals Mr Bradley asked if he could ‘at least keep the puppies’ because he had a buyer for them and he also suggested that Ms Carroll would try to profit from the puppies.

When she informed Mr Bradley that he would be liable for prosecution he told her: ‘You won’t get a penny off me, I’m a pensioner.’

Defence solicitor Jack Purcell said that his client’s daughter had previously helped him to look after the animals but because she had a baby he was effectively trying to look after everything on his own. He said that there was no intentional cruelty on his part and that he had been attempting to feed and look after the animals.

Judge James McNulty said that it was apparent that looking after the animals was too much for Mr Bradley on his own. He said that it was ‘so awful’ and the conditions so appalling that he could not look at any more evidence.

He convicted him on one count and took the other nine counts into consideration.

He acknowledged that Mr Bradley was of limited means and fined him €1,000.

He also disqualified him from keeping animals with the exception of a maximum of 20 sheep and one working sheepdog.

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