Tuesday 24 October 2017

Animal sanctuary funded by State ill-treated its dogs

One of the dogs found at East Galway Animal Rescue
One of the dogs found at East Galway Animal Rescue

Brian McDonald

An animal welfare sanctuary convicted of ill-treating dogs has been receiving State funding for the last ten years, it has emerged.

The founder of the East Galway Animal Rescue, Sarah Gunter, of Kylebrack, Loughrea, pleaded guilty last month to eight charges of ill-treating a variety of dogs.

The sanctuary has been receiving grant aid from the Department of Agriculture since 2003 and most recently was awarded funding of €4,000 in 2012. Figures for 2013 and the current year are not to hand.

There are no restrictions on a person operating a voluntary dog pound and no requirement to be registered.

The dogs that were ill-treated included Staffordshire bull terriers, a Rottweiler, a pit bull terrier, a Dogue de Bordeaux and a mixed breed.

One of the dogs belonged to Ms Gunter and she told Loughrea District Court that what had occurred was "an error of judgment" on her part.

She insisted that she would never hurt an animal.

The court heard that gardai were contacted by the Galway Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals in July of last year to go to the sanctuary in Kylebrack where one dog was running freely and seven others were in a derelict farm building.

The dogs were found to be in an emaciated condition when removed from the property and examined by a vet.

The court heard that Sarah Gunter had operated the East Galway Animal Rescue for the past 17 years and had cared for over 3,000 animals.

She made no money from operating the centre. Two random inspections carried out since had not shown any problems. She was fined €250 by Judge William Hamill.

Irish Independent

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