'Shame on you' - judge gives mum-of-two life-time pet ban after seeing 'disgraceful' images of starved husky
A mother-of-two who kept a starved husky in an emaciated state in her flat in Dublin, has been given a life-time ban on owning pets.
Amy Lee, with an address at School Street Flats, Dublin 8, was prosecuted for neglecting her husky named Sky.
After looking at photos of her dog, Judge Anthony Halpin said “shame on you” to the accused.
He described it as a “disgraceful” offence that would make any animal lover cry and she was being spared a jail sentence because of her personal circumstances.
She was fined €100 and ordered to pay €100 in costs after she pleaded guilty at Dublin District Court to three charges under the Animal Health and Welfare Act.
She was accused of failing to take all necessary steps to ensure Sky was kept in a manner to safeguard her health and welfare and that the building used to contain her did cause unnecessary suffering; being reckless regarding the health or welfare of the dog and not providing sufficient food and water, at her address on September 1, 2017.
Dublin Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (DSPCA) inspector Liam Kinsella told Judge Anthony Halpin today he went to Lee's address after receiving a report from gardai.
The DPSCA inspector and a colleague were let in by the accused.
Mr Kinsella said Sky was on the balcony of Ms Lee's flat.
He told the court the husky was in an “emaciated state”.
Photos of the pet taken at the time she was rescued were handed in to the judge.
The accused was co-operative and agreed to surrender Sky to the DSPCA, the court heard.
The husky was seen by a vet who provided a medical report for the court hearing.
Since then Sky's condition has improved significantly and she was adopted by another family 12 days after she was rescued, Judge Halpin heard.
He noted a vet's report stated the husky weighed 11.6kgs at the time she was handed over to the DSPCA. There was no evidence of illness which could provide a clinical explanation for the weight loss.
She was also found to have a “ravenous appetite” and in the months after she was rescued she gained 7.2kgs bringing her weight up to 18.8kgs.
Mr Kinsella told the court that when he first saw the dog she was “in an underweight, neglected condition and as a result of this was suffering unnecessarily”.
Lee had no previous convictions.
Defence counsel Ann Sheridan said this an awful situation and there was no excuse for the way the dog was treated.
She said her client, who is expecting a child, bought Sky for her family. However, she had suffered health problems and moved back in with her mother but “left the dog behind and was there on an off”.
This was a “wake-up call” for Lee who started attending a family resource centre after the dog was taken. She has also attended a mental health service.
Ms Sheridan (instructed by solicitor Tracy Horan) said Lee has no intention of ever keeping an animal again.
Pleading for leniency she asked the court to note her client was a single mother on social welfare, had no prior criminal convictions and was very apologetic.
Medical reports on the accused were furnished to the judge.
The offence can result in a fine of up to €5,000 per charge and a prison term of up to six months.
Judge Halpin said it was a disgraceful case and he described how the photos he had been given showed a beautiful dog who had been “totally emaciated”.
He was furnished with letters from the accused's doctors.
He said Lee had no problem in taking care of her own health but he added she did not bring her dog to a vet.
The husky was “starved and uncared for and left in a state of suffering,” he said, adding, “how a person can do that to an innocent animal is beyond me".
"Looking at the photos here would bring any animal lover to ears, it really is disgraceful, shame on you," he told the accused.
The judge noted also had the power to disqualify her from being an animal owner.
He said, "what this animal was subjected to is inexcusable” and, he added, he had no way of knowing how long the husky was in that condition.
He banned her from owning any animal for life and imposed a fine of €100 and ordered her to pay €100 in prosecution costs within six months.
“But for the personal circumstances, of the defendant I would be considering a custodial sentence,” he said.