Fur real? | 

OAP convicted of causing 'suffering' to husky insists 'it was feed of lies told'

Chrissie McGinley said: "Aye, he did have a big coat but, you know, he's a husky"
Chrissie McGinley said she’s glad Beckham has a new home

Chrissie McGinley said she’s glad Beckham has a new home

Patrick O'Connell

A pensioner banned from keeping animals for five years after she was convicted of causing 'unnecessary suffering' to a husky dog has insisted: "It was a feed of lies told about me."

Chrissie McGinley's dog 'Beckham' had to have 2.2kgs of hair shaved off due to matting after he was taken into the care of the ISPCA on September 13, 2019.

According to a statement issued by the ISPCA, gardai became concerned for Beckham's welfare after they observed his condition during the course of a routine search and contacted the ISPCA for assistance.

Senior Inspector Kevin McGinley subsequently attended the property and said: "I was immediately struck by the condition of the dog and his living accommodation.

"His coat was extremely matted and he was living in filthy conditions covered in faeces and muck.

"He was in a pen at the back of the yard and his only bed a wooden pallet which was also extremely dirty and covered in muck."

Beckham when he was found

Beckham when he was found

The dog was surrendered to the ISPCA and transferred to a local veterinary practitioner for examination and treatment.

On assessment, it was found that Beckham was also underweight under his blanket of matted fur.

Later that evening, Beckham was transferred to the ISPCA's Donegal Animal Rehabilitation Centre in Ramelton for care and a badly needed groom.

Consequently, a charge was brought against Chrissie under section 12(1)(a) of the Animal Health and Welfare Act (AHWA) 2013.

This section states a person shall not do, or fail to do, anything or cause or permit anything to be done to an animal that causes unnecessary suffering to or endangers the health or welfare of an animal.

Beckham after he was groomed

Beckham after he was groomed

Appearing on behalf of McGinley, who pleaded guilty to the charge at Letterkenny District Court, solicitor for the defendant, Rory O'Brien, said his client "took on a responsibility she wasn't capable of doing".

"She is 68-years-old and is asking me to convey her apology, for what it is worth, to the ISPCA," Mr O'Brien said. "She is hopeful that the dog is in a better place."

"She subsumed responsibility for the dog when her son died in a car accident. There were sentimental circumstances," he added.

Mr O'Brien said his client, who has no similar previous convictions, was co-operative and had entered a plea.

Judge Deirdre Gearty convicted McGinley, fining her €200.

She was also disqualified from keeping animals for a period of five years.

Despite her guilty plea, when speaking with the Sunday World this week, Chrissie McGinley denied Beckham was not looked after.

"The guards had seen the dog a thousand times before," she said.

"I always put the dog in the cage if anyone came about. When they [the kids] went to school that morning I just put him in the cage in case anyone would be about.

"And then I was going to come back and let him out. But then the guards came in the meantime and the dog was in it, so they took him.

Asked about the ISPCA statement relating to the dog's condition, Chrissie said: "Aye, he did have a big coat but, you know, he's a husky.

"But he was well looked after, he was well cared for and he was well fed. There was nothing wrong with that dog except he had a big coat of fur.

"And the same day he came I had a big bale of stuff from the dog place. I had a set of clippers that are still here in the garden shed.

"Brand new, I bought them, with a big case for grooming but I just had nobody about with the time to do it."

Chrissie talks to our reporter Patrick

Chrissie talks to our reporter Patrick

Asked whether she was annoyed the dog had been taken from her, Chrissie said: "No, I just let them take it. But he was well enough looked after.

"Jesus, Mary and Joseph, they just scandalised me for nothing. You'd think it was one of the worst cases ever.

"He didn't even sleep in there [in the pen].

"He'd run about. I'd only just put him in there. He went into the other sheds at the night-time. He was my son's dog and he died in road traffic accident. I am upset the dog's gone but what can I do about it?

"But the dog was well looked after.

"He just had a heavy coat … he had plenty of flipping food and he had water and everything. And he slept in the wee sheds and had a big run round the back.

"They just totally got the wrong end of the stick but you know what they're like.

"At least they've said they've given him to a good home now."

ISPCA inspector Kevin McGinley said case like Beckham's are unfortunately quite common.

"As an Authorised Officer, unfortunately, I see situations like this far too frequently where animals are not provided with even a basic level of care such as a clean-living area or failing to ensure their dogs are groomed, which is simply unacceptable."

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