Repulsive abuser Marcus McMillan (27) jailed after animals believed to be used for fighting and baiting are found with horrendous wounds
Marcus McMillan was jailed for five months at Lisburn Magistrates Court on Thursday claiming he used them to hunt and kill wild animals though the court heard the injuries were consistent with fighting and badger baiting.
Cops discovered the animals in a horrific state by chance – detectives were searching his house as part of a drug investigation when they came across the beleaguered animals.
A disgusted judge described McMillan’s treatment of the poor animals as “actually horrendous” and banned him for life from keeping animals again.
The 27-year-old, with an address of Benmore Drive in Finaghy, Belfast, was released on bail to appeal his sentence but he was also ordered to pay the £6,048 kennelling and court costs for the dogs to Lisburn and Castlereagh Council.
Jailing McMillan, District Judge Rosie Watters said “these are horrible cruelty offences” and that the “particularly shocking” photographs of the dogs’ injuries were “actually horrendous” and left her in “no doubt that these dogs were in an awful lot of suffering”.
Earlier this year McMillan entered guilty pleas to causing unnecessary suffering to the ten dogs and failing to take reasonable steps to ensure their welfare at a property on the Drumlogh Road in Hillsborough on April 13 last year.
On a separate bill of indictment, McMillan had also confessed to possessing class C drugs temazepam and pregabalin at the same property on the same date.
Opening the facts for the first time, a prosecuting lawyer outlined how it was the drugs search that lead to the shocking cruelty case in that cops uncovered more than 100 prescription tablets in a caravan at the Hillsborough property but when they checked other outbuildings, they discovered the injured dogs.
They also uncovered £4,390 in cash which McMillan accepted was the proceeds of crime.
The police officers were so concerned they immediately alerted the dog warden and a vet who came to examine the animals.
The vet found that all of the dogs, including five Patterdale terriers and a golden wheaten terrier, all had facial injuries, “many had active infections with puss in their mouths” and one dog in particular, a male Patterdale, had a jaw injury so severe “there was a hole between the mouth and chin”.
Unable to eat or drink properly, that dog had to undergo several surgeries to repair its jaw while among the others:
A degloving injury is a traumatic wound that results in the top layers of skin and tissue being torn away from the underlying muscle, connective tissue or bone. They most commonly affect the legs and are frequently associated with underlying fractures.
“There was no evidence of pain relief and no evidence of vet treatment for any dog,” said the lawyer, adding that the vet deemed they were suffering and with McMillan refusing to sign them over, the ten dogs were seized.
He eventually did sign them over but not before vet and kennelling costs totalled £5,814 and although twice invited to attend for interviews, McMillan was a no-show.
“All of the dogs were rehomed apart from two which were stolen the night they were placed into the foster care of care providers,” said the lawyer, with defence counsel Peter Coiley stressing there was no evidence or suggestion that McMillan had anything to do with that.
While the PPS told DJ Watters the injuries “would be consistent with fighting or badger baiting,”
Mr Coiley claimed that according to McMillan, “the dogs were used to hunt foxes” but conceded that no matter how the injuries occurred, “these animals were not by any measure appropriately or humanely treated”.
“The strongest mitigation that I have is that he pleaded guilty,” said the barrister, adding:
“Thankfully, none of the dogs required to be euthanised.”
“That’s no thanks to him,” the judge told him, describing McMillan’s crimes as “quite shocking offences” as she jailed him.
Ordering the forfeiture of the £4,039 seized, the judge also ordered McMillan to pay the £5,814 vet and kennelling costs and the £234 court costs.