Jail for man who nearly let dogs starve to death

One dog was so thin his ribs were sticking out

Sorcha O'Connor

These are the shocking images of two boxer dogs who were starved and near death when they were found living in deplorable conditions in Co Kildare.

Their owner, Thomas Cross, of Grove Heights, Robertstown, Co Kildare, pleaded guilty in Naas District Court earlier this week to two counts of animal cruelty relating to the dogs at the premises in Robertstown.

He was sentenced to eight months' imprisonment and handed a €5,000 fine after his conviction over the treatment of the two dogs.

The animals were found in January 2017 in an extremely emaciated state.

A vet confirmed that they were suffering from severe malnutrition, with their ribs and visibly protruding.

One dog had nasty lesions along its back and hind legs, severely overgrown nails, and the tip of his tail had been damaged and was bleeding.

The other dog was oozing dark discharge and had scabs on its ears, while its teeth were worn down with evidence of chronic gingivitis present.

The dogs were immediately seized and taken to the National Animal Centre in Co Longford to receive the urgent veterinary treatment and rehabilitation they badly needed.

Veterinary Surgeon Ann Neville outlined the condition of the dogs to the court.


Photographs taken at the time which showed the harm that came to the dogs at the house in Co Kildare were handed into the court for consideration by Judge Desmond Zaidan.

He imposed two consecutive four-month terms of imprisonment.

Mr Cross also has 12 months to pay the fine of €5,000.

Judge Zaidan also awarded the costs of the investigation in the sum of €2,400, including veterinary costs, to the Government.

ISPCA chief inspector Conor Dowling said the dogs had been found in a condition that was "simply shocking".

He said that there was no reason pet owners should treat their animals in this way and that it would not be tolerated.

"There is no excuse and failure to provide the basic level of care for these dogs was just not acceptable and will not be tolerated," he said.

"We will do all that we can to improve the welfare for all animals in Ireland and members of the public should continue to report animal welfare concerns to the ISPCA by contacting the National Animal Cruelty Helpline on 1890 515 515 or report cruelty online in confidence."

The dogs, re-named Ace and Artie, made a full recovery and have been re-homed together in Dundrum.

Under the Animal Health and Welfare Act 2013, pet owners have a legal requirement to look after their pets.