Vet tells court matter of days before things get drastic for 80 horses on lands of 'animal neglect' and 'horse Cliff dumper' farmer

(stock photo)
(stock photo)

Gordon Deegan

A veterinary inspector has told a court that it is a matter of days and weeks before things get drastic for the remaining 80 horses on the lands of a west Clare farmer.

At Ennis Circuit Court, Dr Aileen Tighe at the Dept of Agriculture said that she would be very concerned that things could go disastrously wrong on the lands of Martin Gerald Foley (66) over the next few weeks even though right now, horses on the lands were generally in okay body condition.

Commenting after a recent inspection of the lands, Dr Tighe stated: “There is no growth on the lands, the lands are very wet and there are far too many horses for the lands. The feed is very poor quality.”

She stated: “Horses can deteriorate very quickly, they can almost appear to melt overnight when they are not provided with quality feed.”

Dr Tighe was providing an update to court concerning the June court order that Dr Foley dispose of his 116 horses from his six different land-holdings around Kilkee in west Clare.

In the case, bachelor farmer, Mr Foley of Lislanihan, Kilkee has pleaded guilty to 20 sample animal neglect charges out of a total of 193 charges first brought against him.

Supt Veterinary Inspector for the Clare-Limerick area for the Dept of Agriculture, Dr Lorna Meaney told the court last June: “The overall scale and severity of this is unprecedented.”

Mr Foley has also pleaded to dumping 12 animal carcasses over Cliffs at Baltard, Doonbeg in west Clare in April 2014.

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Mr Foley’s sentencing hearing in June heard that horses unable to stand up were left to die in excruciating pain on lands under the control of Mr Foley three years ago.

Counsel for the State, Lorcan Connolly BL said that the State is disappointed at the rate of disposal since June as there remains 80 horses on the lands.

Mr Connolly said that Mr Foley doesn’t appear to have listened to what the court said in June.

Dr Tighe said that the Dept may have to hire professional contractors to have the horses removed at a cost of €450 to €500 per horse.

Dr Tighe said that from experience a number of these horses would have to be destroyed.

Counsel for Mr Foley, Pat Whyms BL between agreed sales and sales to proceed, the number of horses remaining is 56.

Mr Whyms said: “Mr Foley has been doing everything he possibly can to dispose of the horses.”

Mr Whyms said that the publicity attached to the case has made things harder for Mr Foley in trying to sell on the animals.

Mr Whyms said that substantial progress has been made to date and Mr Foley can guarantee that every effort will be made to get to close to zero as possible for the next court date.

Mr Whyms said: “The longer we have the smaller the problem will be.”

Mr Connolly said that it is critical that the equines have good quality feed.

Judge Gerard Keys adjourned the case to November 29 and further remanded Mr Foley on bail.

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