Sunday 21 July 2019

Applause in court as man jailed for 'deplorable' cruelty to dogs and horses

Stock photo
Stock photo

Conor Kane

A Carlow man has been jailed for three years for animal cruelty offences connected to a "deplorable" dog breeding business he ran.

Gardaí and animal welfare officers who inspected the property at Myshall, Co Carlow, found a number of dead dogs and horses, dogs feeding on the carcasses of horses, and horses unable to walk because they were stuck in a mixture of mud and faeces, a court has heard.

The evidence was given in a case against couple James Kavanagh and Jennifer Kavanagh, which was described as "extraordinary" by circuit court Judge James McCourt and "grim and inexcusable" by counsel for one of the defendants.

James Kavanagh (48) was given a three-year prison term after pleading guilty to 30 counts of causing or allowing animal cruelty on his property at Raheenleigh, Myshall, Co Carlow, in April 2015.

The charges related to 63 different animals. He was disqualified from owning horses or dogs for life.

His wife, Jennifer Kavanagh, was given a 12-month suspended sentence after she admitted 30 counts of allowing animal cruelty on the property, relating to 15 specific animals. She was banned from owning dogs or horses for five years.

The prison sentence for Kavanagh was greeted by loud applause in the courtroom from dozens of animal rights campaigners.

A crowd outside the courthouse cheered as the defendant was driven away afterwards in a prison van.

The court heard that 340 dogs and 11 horses had to be removed from the property after Garda and welfare inspections and four horses and 20 dogs had to be euthanised because they were in such poor health.

ISPCA chief inspector Conor Dowling described the conditions found on the property as "deplorable".

"It's 20 years I've been in this job and never before or since have I come across anything like this in terms of dog welfare specifically, the scale and severity was way above anything I've ever dealt with," he told the court.

Judge McCourt said the case was an "extraordinary" one and said "words fail me to describe what those pictures depict as to the conditions of those unfortunate animals".

Irish Independent

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