Michelle Connolly, with an address at Killard, Puckaun, Nenagh, Co. Tipperary, pleaded guilty to seven offences under the Animal Health and Welfare Act (AHWA) 2013 at Nenagh District Court last Thursday, March 12th.
Judge Elizabeth McGrath fined Ms Connolly a total of €2,000 and said she would accept an offer of €5,000 in compensation in lieu of awarding costs against her.
Judge McGrath also disqualified Ms Connolly from owning, keeping or breeding any dog, other than the two Great Danes already in her possession, for 10 years.
She fixed recognisance in Ms Connolly’s own bond of €250.
Ms Connolly appeared before the court in relation to an ISPCA visit to her property on 2nd February 2019 following a complaint.
ISPCA Animal Welfare Inspector Emma Carroll told the court that Ms Connolly was “hostile and uncooperative” during the visit and claimed that Inspector Carroll “had no right to be there,” demanding she “leave immediately.”
Ms Connolly then allegedly threatened to close the electric gate to the property with Inspector Carroll inside.
Inspector Carroll discovered three dogs (two Maltese and a poodle) in a small cage behind a trailer at the property.
They were described as being mistreated: one had red raw skin, another was underweight with matted hair and a discharge, and a third dog had no hair on its tail and “looked like a little piglet.”
Ms Connolly initially denied that she knew anything about these dogs, the court heard.
They were immediately seized and transported to a nearby veterinary practitioner for an assessment and later brought into the ISPCA for care and rehabilitation.
Ms Connolly made contact with the ISPCA a month later claiming the dogs were hers and seeking their return.
She declined the option of surrendering the dogs to the ISPCA, meaning they couldn’t be placed in permanent homes and had to be detained pending last week’s proceedings.
The court heard that the ISPCA had incurred very substantial costs in boarding the dogs but was willing to accept a reduced rate.
Ms Connolly continued to seek the return of the three dogs, which are named Milly, Dolce, and Adam.
Her solicitor, Donal Smyth, suggested that forfeiting the dogs would be “severe for a first offence.”
But Judge McGrath disagreed and ordered Ms Connolly to surrender the pups to the ISPCA, saying: “I don’t want the three dogs to be traumatised.”
Following the proceedings, Inspector Carroll said: “These three dogs suffered unnecessarily without adequate feeding or a proper level of routine care.
“The owner responsible for them failed to do anything to alleviate their suffering, or safeguard their welfare, which resulted in many issues, including malnourishment and untreated skin conditions.
“There is no excuse for animal cruelty and as a result the owner has a criminal conviction for animal cruelty.”