A MUSLIM asylum seeker has pleaded guilty to animal cruelty after he cut the throats of four baby goats in what he claimed was the preparation of halal meat.
Rashid Kibaga, originally from Somalia, slaughtered the animals while a friend held them down in a house in a Co Kerry housing estate. Residents at the Balloonagh estate in Tralee contacted gardai saying they heard "goats screaming and in pain".
Kibaga (23), of Atlas House, Deerpark, Killarney, originally from Mogadishu, pleaded guilty at Tralee Circuit Criminal Court to a charge of cruelty to animals at Balloonagh estate on April 23, 2012.
He also pleaded guilty to using the house at the Balloonagh estate as an abattoir, when the house was not licensed as such. He admitted a third count of failing to ensure the goats didn't suffer.
Judge Carroll Moran imposed a one-year sentence on Kibaga, suspended for two years.
When gardai, dog wardens and animal welfare inspectors called to the house, they found three foreign nationals – all asylum seekers – present, including the accused.
They found four goat carcasses, two of which had been skinned and lying in a shopping trolley.
Kibaga admitted to gardai he cut the throats of the goats while a friend held them down. He said this was part of his religion and the preparation of halal meat. He did not know this was illegal in Ireland.
Animal welfare inspector Harry McDaid told gardai the goats would have been terrified and in pain.
Brian McInerney, counsel for Kibaga, said: "He now accepts things are done differently in this country and he apologises."