Farmer who abused greyhounds allowed to keep herd of cows

Stock photo
Stock photo

Ciaran Murphy

A judge said it was “extraordinary” that a Waterford farmer and dog breeder left his three greyhounds in such an emaciated state that one had to be put down and two re-homed while other breeds were left in “such good condition”.

David Kirwan (48), of Currabaha East near Kilmacthomas in Co Waterford, appeared at the Circuit Criminal Court yesterday charged under Section 12 (a) of the Animal Welfare Act.

Despite having the dogs confiscated by the ISPCA, with one being destroyed, Kirwin received the Probation Act at Waterford Circuit Court yesterday as he paid out €2,350 to the Waterford branch of the ISPCA.

He has also been left in charge of his suckler herd of cows after undergoing a one-year education programme with a veterinary surgeon.

ISPCA inspector Alice Lacey responded to a public referral on March 5th 2015 to attend Bachelor Kirwan’s home, which he shares with his father and sister.

The court heard that greyhound breeder Kirwan had two greyhounds living outside in separate pens, along with one indoors.

Two pets, an Alsatian and a Rottweiler were also living at the residence, were found in very good condition but the greyhounds “looked malnourished” and this revealed a “lack of proper diet”, she said.

Two dogs were “severely underweight” and all three greyhounds had lesions and pressure sores from inadequate bedding, his sentencing hearing heard.

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Kirwan was not at home but she left him a note and he contacted her at 6pm that evening, she said.  They met in person at the address on March 9th and he had told her that he had de-wormed the dogs and “accepted responsibility”.

He told her that he had been feeding the dogs, it emerged.  “Veterinary treatment should have been sought a lot sooner”, she added.

The dogs, aged between 4 and 6 years, had previously been tagged and registered with the Irish Greyhound Board.  He had been feeding them on bread and “Racer” nuts, the court heard.

Ms Lacey told Noel Whelan, prosecuting, that one of the dogs was in such poor condition that he had to be euthanized, while the remaining two were taken to the ISPCA shelter and re-homed.

An ISPCA volunteer at the time and not yet an officer, she contacted the gardai at Tramore and then, Sgt Alan Kissane at Kilmacthomas.

Kirwan is allowed to keep his pet dogs and herd, while he has another job working with a dog breeder locally.

Judge Eugene O’Kelly said: “It is extraordinary that this man could let these hounds get into such poor condition and a Rottweiler and Alsatian were found in such good condition.”

Solicitor Paddy Gordon said that when he became aware that the dogs were not thriving he “didn’t know what to do” and then “was afraid”.

Judge O’Kelly said that he could have contacted a vet.

However, he noted that Kirwin suffered psychological difficulties, was “functionally illiterate”, and had no previous convictions.

A sum of €2,000 was handed over to the WSPCA, along with an understanding to pay €350 more in care costs.

Judge O’Kelly handed down the Probation Act.

He said: “If he comes back before this court he won’t be treated in the same way.”

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