A Donegal woman was recently prosecuted after she abandoned her dog and was taken to court by the ISPCA.

Vet Pete Wedderburn, speaking on Newstalk’s Pat Kenny Show, said what happened is people called around to her house and found the dog by itself.

“Two days later when they called again there was still no sign of anybody and they raided the place and found evidence that the dog didn’t have any food and couldn’t reach its water bowl.

“The thing is under old legislation prior to March of last year, the animal welfare legislation was a 1912 act or something which was completely out of date.

“It depended on animals physically suffering, being emaciated, having injuries, so under the old legislation it is arguable that nothing could have been done about this lady because she could have said she was calling in from time to time.

She could have got away with it because the dog wasn’t actually physically ill, Pete said.

Pete said that under the new legislation, the Animal Health and Welfare Act, which came in last March people are obliged to provide the ‘five freedoms’ for their pet and that includes freedom from hunger.

“So because she allowed her dog to get hungry that’s why she is being prosecuted. Sentencing takes place in July and there’ll be a range of options including a fine of up to €5,000 or jail for six months.

“More likely the judge asked about disqualifying her from owning animals in the future and that seems like a more likely option,” Pete said.

When buying a dog Pete said consumer beware and to never meet someone in a lay-by.

“Insist on meeting the mother of the dog, in the place where the puppy was reared. That way you’ll be able to avoid going to a puppy farm and hopefully go to a good dog breeder instead,” he said.