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cruel case Dog breeder fined for keeping 'starved' greyhounds in 'deplorable' conditions

Kieran O’Donnell refused to explain why he let the dogs suffer such neglect when the Sunday World spoke to him this week

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Kieran O’Donnell

Kieran O’Donnell

Kieran O’Donnell

A dog breeder who was convicted after his greyhounds were found starving in “deplorable” conditions in Sligo refused to explain why he let them suffer when the Sunday World spoke to him this week.

When inspectors visited the premises of dog-breeder Kieran O’Donnell from Kilmacteague in Aclare they found a number of greyhounds in various states of hunger, flea-ridden, suffering from pressure lesions and in need of veterinary attention.

There was no food for the dogs or water in their kennels.

O’Donnell refused to explain why he let the dogs suffer such neglect when the Sunday World spoke to him this week.

“I can’t talk to no-one, right,” he said.

Greyhound Racing Ireland told the Sunday World that the greyhounds have since been rehomed.

O’Donnell was fined €1,000 and ordered to pay €5,681 in costs for failing to ensure that greyhounds under his care on December 3rd, 2019 were kept in a manner so as to avoid unnecessary suffering. He was also charged with failing to ensure the greyhounds received treatment from a veterinary practitioner when needed. A charge of operating a breeding premises while not entered on the Irish Coursing Club register was struck out

The Sligo Champion reported that Tony Fahy, a welfare officer with Greyhound Racing Ireland, told Tubbercurry District Court that he called to O’Donnell’s premise on November 27 2019 but got no answer. He arrived back on December 3 and O’Donnell initially refused access but eventually let him in.

He found 12 greyhounds on the premises some of which were extremely underweight.

“They were in extremely poor condition, very hungry looking and starved. The premises was deplorable,” said Mr Fahy.

He added there was no food on the premises and O’Donnell mentioned something about family problems to him and said he was planning to get food.

Vet Rachel Moran who treated the dogs after the inspection said at least eight of the 12 were “very poorly”.

The court heard O’Donnell was a separated man in his 60s. His solicitor Eamonn Gallagher told the court he was coming off record for O’Donnell at the start of proceedings.

A spokesman for Greyhound Racing Ireland, also known as Rásaíocht Con Éireann’s (RCÉ) told the Sunday World that O’Donnell wasn’t a licenced trainer.

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The spokesman said RCÉ seized twelve greyhounds from the property in December 2019 and placed same in foster care pending re-homing of the greyhounds.

“RCÉ, in conjunction with its sister entity, the Irish Retired Greyhound Trust, secured ‘forever homes’ for eight of the greyhounds seized from the property.”

RCÉ CEO Gerard Dollard said: “The effort made by Rásaíocht Con Éireann’s Welfare team in relation to this particular case and ultimate seizure of greyhounds is very much in line with RCÉ’s priority of maintaining animal welfare at the centre of the industry. Where breaches in relation to the Welfare of Greyhounds Act are identified, RCÉ will take all the necessary steps to ensure that the care and welfare needs of racing greyhounds are properly addressed by the parties responsible. The decision of the District Justice at Tubbercurry District Court underlines the fact that the Courts will also take such matters very seriously.”

RCÉ said its officers carried out 455 welfare inspections last year.

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