Donegal farmer sentenced after animals on his farm had to be put down

A man from Co. Donegal received a three month suspended jail sentence after a number of animals had to be put down on his farm following visits from the ISPCA.

At Letterkenny District Court, on November 1, Leslie Stewart (69) of The Thorn, Letterkenny, Co. Donegal was given a suspended jail sentence and warned not to keep animals, the Donegal Democrat reported.

The case resulted from a joint investigation by ISPCA Inspector Kevin McGinley and Department of Agriculture Veterinary Inspector Desmond Lavin in February and March of 2014.

During a number of visits in that time frame a number of serious animal welfare issues were discovered, while a number of animals had to be euthanized on the farm.

These included a donkey too weak to stand, two emaciated calves and an emaciated pony mare unable to bear any weight on one of her fore-legs, according to the ISPCA.

A further seven ponies were surrendered into the care of the ISPCA.

Veterinary Inspector Desmond Lavin, told the court that he had called to the farm on Wednesday, October 19, 2016, after Judge Kelly had ordered Stewart not to keep any animals on his farm.

On that occasion Lavin found five goats, one pot-bellied pig with nine piglets, three dogs and three cats on the farm.

Source: ISPCA
Source: ISPCA

Lavin advised Stewart that he was not allowed to keep animals and told him he would be returning to the property, which he did, on Sunday, October 30, 2016.

On this return visit all the animals had been removed, apart for three cats Stewart said were strays.

Judge Paul Kelly said the only reason preventing him from sending the defendant to jail was his age and sentenced him to three months in prison on one cruelty charge but suspended the jail sentence for 12 months.

Judge Kelly also awarded the ISPCA €250 veterinary fees for the removal of several ponies from the man’s lands at an earlier date.

He also warned the the defendant’s solicitor to advise his client that he risks going to jail if he keeps any more animals on his land in future.

This case sends out a clear message that animal cruelty will not be tolerated, according to ISPCA Senior Inspector Kevin McGinley.

“We would like to thank the Department of Agriculture Veterinary Inspector Desmond Lavin for his efforts in this joint operation that resulted in a conviction and a court order that the individual involved not keep any animals.”

Members of the public can report animal welfare concerns to the ISPCA by contacting the National Animal Cruelty Helpline on 1890 515 515 or report in confidence via the online cruelty complaint form.

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