File photo: Naas courthouse
A young man was found guilty of several charges in relation to animal welfare matters relating to the condition of a bitch and nine pups he owned at the time.
Kevin Conway, 25, with an address listed in court documents as 763 Belan, Moone, was charged in relation to failing to supply food and drink to animals, namely nine lurcher pups and their mother.
The 10 dogs were found in a distressed state in the boilerhouse of an address at Ballyvas, Castledermot on May 15 last by locksmiths who were there acting on behalf of a bank which was repossessing the property.
The locksmiths called in volunteers from the Kildare West Wicklow Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (KWWSPCA) who gave evidence before Judge Desmond Zaidan at Naas District Court last Thursday, July 5.
Witness Grainne Murphy of KWWSPCA told the court that the mother of the pups was emaciated.
Her ribs were protruding, Ms Murphy said. She said the pups were listless.
The floor of the boilerhouse was strewn with litter, faeces, urine and dog food, which was mixed in with and contaminated by the urine.
The smell of ammonia from the urine was so strong it was likely to injure the animals, she commented.
Ms Murphy said that from her experience, she believed that this was a situation several weeks in the making and that if they hadn’t been found, the pups may not have made it through the night. She said they had none of their usual playfulness.
The animals were taken to the vet and treated and are now thriving.
Sarah Connolly, BL, on behalf of the defendant argued, successfully that the photographs could not be used in evidence.
She also questioned the witnesses from KWWSPCA closely, arguing that they were not vets and therefore their evidence was not scientific.
Mr Conway gave evidence that he had only recently been given notice from his landlord that he would have to vacate the property as a result of the bank’s action and that he had been searching for somewhere for himself, his partner and their newborn to move to.
As a result he hadn’t managed to give as much attention normally in the previous 24 hours as he normally did.
However, he said in evidence that he normally attended to the dogs three times a day and cleaned out the boiler house once a week.
He suggested that the bitch’s condition was normal having given birth three weeks previously to nine pups.
As regards the contamination of the food with urine he said he couldn’t be responsible for the dogs knocking over bowls in the middle of the night.
Judge Desmond Zaidan said he had sympathy for the defendant’s housing predicament.
However he said he had “serious concerns about the levels of maturity and understanding of animal health and welfare” displayed by Mr Conway.
He imposed two fines of €500 each on the defendant and banned him from owning animals for four years.