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Hounded Man who kept pup in treacherous conditions blasts coverage: 'I didn't murder somebody'

Everyone's ringing me saying: 'Ah the poor dog', f**k the dog. I mean poor me listening to that

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Michael Boyce complains to our reporter that the reports in the paper were 'cat'

Michael Boyce complains to our reporter that the reports in the paper were 'cat'

Michael Boyce complains to our reporter that the reports in the paper were 'cat'

A dog-owner who kept an eight-month-old pup on a 'steel-prodded collar' in 'treacherous' conditions has blasted coverage of his case, fuming: "I didn't murder somebody."

Donegal man Michael Boyce was this week banned from keeping ­animals for five years and fined €250 after being convicted of failing to ensure his dog Kaya was "kept and treated in a manner that safe-guarded her health and welfare".

In a statement released after Boyce's conviction in Letterkenny District Court, accompanied by graphic images, the ISPCA said that when Inspector Kevin McGinley called to Boyce's home on ­January 30, he discovered the dog was:  

  • Tied to a boiler house in the back yard, on a lead so restrictive the dog had only three to four feet to move around.
  • Restrained with a steel-prodded collar, so every time Kaya pulled on the lead it inflicted a degree of pain and impinged on her ability to freely move her neck.
  • On filthy ground, littered with ­debris including old sinks, bags of turf, timber, washing machines and old cookers.
  • With no evidence of food present;
  • And had a foul smell from her coat.

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The collar that caused poor pub Kaya to suffer every time she stretched out from her lead

The collar that caused poor pub Kaya to suffer every time she stretched out from her lead

The collar that caused poor pub Kaya to suffer every time she stretched out from her lead

 

The ISPCA said the steel-prodded collar was of a type sometimes used in training.

But from the "amount of staining on her coat, it appeared to be permanently used on the dog and bolt cutters were needed to remove it from Kaya's neck".

Approached by the Sunday World at his home in Kilmacrenan on Thursday, Boyce claimed the dog pictured in this report "was better looked after than myself".

"I'm not at all happy by that (what happened in court) by no means," he said.

"That was way out of proportion what they done yesterday. That dog was looked after. It's ridiculous. I didn't expect that."

Boyce claimed the reason he used the collar on Kaya was because the dog was breaking through regular collars.

"I have so much proof of the amount of collars he broke through because he was mighty strong dog and I was feeding him well," he said.

"He was better fed than me.

"So, for them to say all that, and my family and friends to read it - f**k them.

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"It (the collar) was on and off because I was trying to train him onto an ordinary collar, you understand, and that's why it was on and off the whole time.

"It was on maybe two or three days a week and it would be off then, and I'd put on an ordinary one to try and see if it worked. So, I was trying to train him, but the amount of power he had, he was very strong yeah."

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Michael Boyce growls that the terrified pup was treated better than himself

Michael Boyce growls that the terrified pup was treated better than himself

Michael Boyce growls that the terrified pup was treated better than himself

 

Asked about the conditions in the back yard where Kaya was found, Boyce said: "The dog was pooing four times a day. To my knowledge I was feeding him far too much. He was only tied up there with the short lead for one day."

Asked if the conditions Kaya was kept in could be described as "cruel", Boyce insisted: "No way!" He said: "Ask anyone sure. Ask me neighbours, my friends. I used to shower the f**king dog. The dog was showered twice a week. Because I would be very house-proud when it comes to smells and all that.

"I still want the dog back. I asked the cop up in the barracks and he said: 'Oh no, he's gone to a good home now.' It was only one day, two at the most."

When the five-year ban on keeping animals was put to Boyce, he responded: "I think that's another ridiculous outfit.

"I didn't see me solicitor yet. But I'm appealing it. I want that dog back. I want my own dog back.

"It was ridiculous how they painted me in the papers. I don't know about the court. But in the papers it was cat.

"And the news all day yesterday, I mean I didn't murder somebody. I know ones in Letterkenny there who are getting away with a hell of a lot worse than that. And not a mention. It's ridiculous.

"You make sure the piece you put in the paper says I want me dog back.

"And you can ask anyone who knows me here in Kilmacrenan, was I a bad father to the dog or whatever you'd say 'owner'.

"My own son is devastated because it come here as a wee pup.

"All the local young ones around here used to come in and they loved the dog.

"I had the dog's bed at the fire … that's where he was.

"And at night I'd put him in the bathroom.

"And you can see he had the skirting board ate because he was a young dog. Everyone's ringing me saying: 'Ah the poor dog', f**k the dog. I mean poor me listening to that.

"The dog was cared for more than me. Do you know what I'm saying?"

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Kaya was in filthy yard and foul smelling

Kaya was in filthy yard and foul smelling

Kaya was in filthy yard and foul smelling

In the statement, issued by the ISPCA, Senior Inspector Kevin McGinley, who was accompanied by a member of An Garda Síochána when the dog was ­discovered, described Kaya's suffering as 'unnecessary'.

"Kaya had suffered unnecessarily as the owner failed to safeguard the dog's health and welfare by not housing her in clean surroundings or appropriate ­housing," he said.

"The dog's owner was reckless having a steel-pronged collar pinching her neck every time she moved; it would have caused constant discomfort.

"The ISPCA is against the use of prong collars in all situations but, in this case, the collar was being used in a completely inappropriate manner. Pet owners have a duty and a legal responsibility to protect the animals in their care."

Kaya's new owners also commented in the statement saying: "We can't change Kaya's past, but we can change her future.

"Kaya was a terrified dog when she first arrived, but she is coming on leaps and bounds through a lot of ongoing work.

"She is now living her best life with her new sister Skye. Kaya has been a constant companion throughout lockdown."

The ISPCA encourages people to continue reporting any animal welfare concerns online by contacting the National Animal Cruelty Helpline on 0818 515 515 or by emailing helpline@ispca.ie.

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