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animal welfare Owner of Doberman dogs found to be emaciated fined €1k after being convicted of animal cruelty

Dogs Kori and Ansgar ‘suffered unnecessarily because owner failed to safeguard their welfare’, animal inspector told court

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One of the Doberman dogs. They weighed just 20.4kg and 22.4kg when animal welfare inspectors seized them

One of the Doberman dogs. They weighed just 20.4kg and 22.4kg when animal welfare inspectors seized them

One of the Doberman dogs. They weighed just 20.4kg and 22.4kg when animal welfare inspectors seized them

A woman has been convicted of animal cruelty to two emaciated Doberman dogs.

Ann Bourke was convicted on five charges under the Animal Health and Welfare Act (AHWA), 2013, at Athlone District Court.

She was fined €500 and ordered to pay €500 in prosecution costs.

Two Doberman dogs were removed from Ms Bourke’s property in Co Roscommon in an emaciated state on May 1 last year.

ISPCA animal welfare inspector Karen Lyons seized the dogs from Ms Bourke’s address at Rawe Cross, Curraboy, and took them for an urgent veterinary examination, where they were found to weigh only 20.4kg and 22.4kg.

The dogs also had some hair loss and scars on their ears and head, their bodies were also in very poor condition.

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One of the emaciated Doberman dogs which have now been rehomed

One of the emaciated Doberman dogs which have now been rehomed

One of the emaciated Doberman dogs which have now been rehomed

The vet who examined the dogs gave evidence in court of the clinical examination of both dogs and her findings.

The vet said that the period of time over which weight loss might have occurred depended on the calories the animals were receiving every day. The adipose tissue around their skulls had broken down, which could signify that the weight loss was over eight weeks.

The defence argued that the condition of the dogs was due to a change of diet and resultant diarrhoea that lasted for four weeks. However, the vet said a change of diet could not have caused the extent of weight loss seen.

She also said that, if dogs are vomiting or have diarrhoea, they are in need of veterinary intervention.

The court heard that the fact that the accused failed to seek veterinary assistance for the dogs, when they had ongoing diarrhoea for a month was neglectful, reckless and caused unnecessary suffering to the dogs.

When convicting Ms Bourke of the five offences under Sections 11 and 12 of the Animal Health and Welfare Act at a September 29 court sitting, Judge Gearty said the dogs were clearly emaciated in the images supplied to the court.

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“The facts have been outlined fully and as per the veterinary evidence,” the judge said. “The dogs were clearly emaciated, which was borne out by the photographs and accepted by the accused. I am satisfied that the burden of proof has been established.”

The ISPCA's Ms Lyons said the two dogs have returned to full health and have since been rehomed.

“In the space of a couple of weeks, the dogs named Kori and Ansgar had significant weight gains of 5kg and 6kg just from receiving a suitable diet,” she said.

“They bounced back to full health in ISPCA care and have since been rehomed. The dogs were very malnourished and had suffered unnecessarily, because their owner had failed to safeguard their welfare, which is totally unacceptable.”

This case was prosecuted by the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM).

The ISPCA said it encouraged members of the public to continue reporting animal welfare concerns to it.

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