A WOMAN who ran a dog rescue centre has been found guilty of cruelty to more than 40 animals under her care.
Cassidy Sinclair (50) appeared before Portlaoise District Court yesterday on two charges of cruelty to animals.
The court heard that the dogs were living in a 12-inch deep "slurry mixture" of their own excrement and urine and that many of them had open wounds requiring immediate surgery.
Sergeant John Malone, of Abbeyleix Garda Station, told the court that on entering Ms Sinclair's house he "had to go back out a few times on point of vomiting due to the smell of faeces and dog urine."
He said there was a pile of dog faeces in the kitchen measuring two-foot high by four-foot wide and that there were "animal bones scattered on the floor".
Brendan Hughes, animal welfare inspector with the ISPCA said he called to Ms Sinclair's house on March 12 this year.
Mr Hughes said he found 20 dogs living in a compound measuring 20ft by 30ft and a small garden shed.
He said there were also many dogs living in horrific conditions inside Ms Sinclair's house.
Many of the dogs had bite wounds caused through fighting over the bones and that there was no fresh water left out for the animals, he said.
Mr Hughes returned to Ms Sinclair's house the following day accompanied by gardai and a vet and seized 27 dogs.
The ISPCA subsequently seized a further 19 dogs from Ms Sinclair in follow-up searches.
David Fagan, the vet who attended the scene, told the court that 12 of the dogs needed urgent treatment to wounds and that eight required stitches and five required antibiotic treatment for infections.
Mr Fagan said the dogs had been "living in fear and distress" and they had been allowed to "suffer unnecessarily".
Ms Sinclair told the court she had been "running a dog rescue of sorts" and that from January to March of this year "things went berserk".
She said she sought help from rescue groups including the ISPCA but that she did not receive any.
She told the court she "was going nuts" and that people were leaving dogs tied to her gateposts.
Judge Haughton said he had never seen anything like this in his 17-years on the bench and said there was evidence of long-term neglect of the dogs in Ms Sinclair's care.
Hefined Ms Sinclair €500 and prohibited her from keeping any dog again for the rest of her life.