A 25-YEAR-old man has been ordered not to keep a dog for 12 months, after animal welfare officers found the dog abandoned and starving in an apartment that was covered in faeces and urine.
Patrick O’Sullivan of The Old Forge, Ballydehob, did not appear at a recent sitting of Bantry District Court to face the charge of leaving an animal locked up in a small apartment for some time with no food on September 2nd last year.
Giving evidence in court, ISPCA senior inspector Lisa O’Donovan said she received a call from a neighbour of the defendant about an abandoned dog at the property.
‘I visited the premises and saw a brown and white terrier sitting at the window and it was clear he was in an agitated state. What alarmed me more was the large amount of flies by the window and there was a horrible smell from the letter box,’ said Insp O’Donovan.
‘I took photos of the dog and there was no light in the apartment or food and there was urine and faeces on the floor, which suggested that the dog had been abandoned for a while.’
Gda Jonathan McCarthy gave evidence that he visited the property with Lisa the day after.
‘We could see the dog scratching and the smell from the door was horrendous,’ said Gda McCarthy.
‘Lisa put a notice on the door and we came back 24 hours later but it was clear no one had been in the house since, so between us we decided to enter the property and take the dog,’ Gda McCarthy told the court.
‘The smell was horrendous and there was a lot of mould on the faeces which suggested it had been there some time. There were no lights and the place was not suitable for human use.’
Senior Insp O’Donovan fed the dog as it was starving and told the court that in her experience it was clear that it had been abandoned for a long period.
‘When I first handled the dog it had a long hard coat but on touching it, you could feel the bones protruding.’
Solicitor Ray Hennessy asked Insp O’Donovan if she had seen his client at the property and she said she had not.
The court was told that the following day after the dog was taken, Gda McCarthy met the defendant at the property, and cautioned him in relation to the dog and Mr O’Sullivan said he wanted to consult his solicitor.
‘He told me that he had been working in Killarney and had left the property a week before we found the dog,’ said Gda McCarthy.
Mr Hennessy asked Judge Mary Dorgan for a short adjournment but she said was not inclined to agree as two witnesses had already given evidence in court.
Supt Brendan Fogarty told Judge Dorgan that the defendant has 12 previous convictions, but none for animal cruelty.
Judge Dorgan said she would convict and fine the defendant €650 but reduced it to €350 after Mr Hennessy said his client is an orphan living on his own and ‘has no hope of paying it.’
‘He’s old enough to know better, so I will reduce the fine to €350 with nine months to pay, and one month in jail in default and I will also order that he does not keep a dog for 12 months,’ said Judge Dorgan.
‘He has previous and I really want that money paid.’
Judge Dorgan was told that the dog, named Hobbs, made a full recovery after a period of both physical and mental rehabilitation, and has now been re-homed by the ISPCA.