Friday 2 December 2016

Farmer jailed for 18 months over 'appalling' cruelty to starved ponies

Published 09/12/2015 | 02:30

Judge James McNulty described as 'absolutely appalling' the condition of the ponies discovered by Department of Agriculture inspectors on land owned by Kenneth Coombes (50) last year. Stock picture
Judge James McNulty described as 'absolutely appalling' the condition of the ponies discovered by Department of Agriculture inspectors on land owned by Kenneth Coombes (50) last year. Stock picture

A farmer was jailed for 18 months for cruelty to animals after five ponies were so badly starved on his farm they had to be put down.

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Judge James McNulty described as "absolutely appalling" the condition of the ponies discovered by Department of Agriculture inspectors on land owned by Kenneth Coombes (50) last year.

Coombes, of The Carrig, Lurriga, Skibbereen, Co Cork, has a total of 26 previous convictions dating back over 10 years, 20 for neglect or cruelty to animals.

In 2007, he was jailed for 30 days and warned to never again own, care for or manage farm animals.

That sentence was imposed after Coombes was convicted of causing cruelty to pigs and dogs, failing to bury dead animals and allowing one carcass to rot on the roof of a shed on his 36-acre farm.

Judge McNulty warned Skibbereen District Court that, despite this, Coombes still appeared to have animals in his care.

Coombes was convicted on three charges of animal cruelty relating to ponies and dogs on various dates between May 29 and July 1, 2014.

"These five ponies were effectively starved to death," the judge said.

Judge McNulty noted Coombes's multiple previous convictions for animal cruelty.

He imposed six-month prison sentences on all three charges.

However, he said that, in light of his repeat behaviour, he was directing that all three sentences be served consecutively, meaning he received an 18-month term.

Irish Independent

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