Tuesday 20 August 2019

Horses neglected by farmer were left to die in excruciating pain

Stock image
Stock image

Gordon Deegan

Horses unable to stand up were left to die in excruciating pain on land in west Clare under the control of a 66-year-old farmer.

Det Garda Donal Corkery showed Ennis Circuit Court stark photos outlining the neglect suffered by cattle and horses at holdings under the control of Martin Gerald Foley.

Bachelor farmer Foley, of Lislanihan, Kilkee, pleaded guilty to 20 sample charges out of a total of 193 charges first brought against him. The animal welfare charges relate to cattle and horses at places in west Clare at Lisdeen, Lislanihan, Donoghboy, Dough and Baltard on dates between March 2014 and April 2016.

In a separate case yesterday, Foley also pleaded guilty to dumping 12 animal carcasses over cliffs at Baltard in April 2014. A pyre to cremate the remains of the eight horses and four cattle required two tonnes of coal, 90 bags of timber and 90 bags of kindle.

In relation to the neglect case, Dr Lorna Meaney, a superintendent veterinary inspector for the Clare-Limerick area for the Department of Agriculture, told the court: "The overall scale and severity of this is unprecedented."

On an inspection of Foley's Lisdeen holding, near Kilkee, in March 2016, Dr Meaney said she was taken aback by the welfare conditions "and some of the bovine animals were in pretty appalling condition".

Dr Meaney said Foley's failure to provide basic levels of water and feed for the animals and his poor husbandry meant that he was in no position to look after any animals.

During their inspection, officials took photographs of decomposed animal carcasses and emaciated animals out in the open.

Det Gda Corkery said that in 2014, Foley had 100 cattle and 50 horses and up until May 2015, a total of 40 animals were unaccounted for.

Describing one photo of two horse carcasses in March 2016 on Foley's lands, the officer told the court that the two animals "had died in severe pain".

Foley's counsel, Pat Whyms BL, said his client coming to court "is a fall from grace" as he was very well known in equine circles nationally.

"Mr Foley got overloaded and overwhelmed and these issues arose and there is no getting away from that," he said.

Judge Gerald Keys, who said the photos in the case "speak for themselves", adjourned the case to October 29 and remanded Foley on bail to sell all of the horses on his land.

Irish Independent

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