Veterinary Inspector disqualified from keeping dogs

At Midleton District Court on May 23, 2024, a Veterinary Inspector from Castlemartyr, Co. Cork, admitted to seven charges under the Animal and Welfare Act 2013, including obstructing an authourised officer.

At Midleton District Court, on Thursday 23rd May 2024, a Veterinary Inspector from Castlemartyr, Co. Cork admitted seven charges under the Animal and Welfare Act 2013 (AHWA), including one of obstructing, interfering, or impeding an authorised officer in the course of their duty. The case arose from inspections of the defendant’s kennels in May 2023.

ISPCA Animal Welfare Inspector Caroline Faherty told the court how she first visited the kennels on 3rd May 2023, and found ten dogs living in dark shed and dirty pens. There were mounds of faeces and soiled shredded paper surrounding the sheds in which there were holes because of a rodent infestation.

The dogs – Irish Terriers – were living in filthy conditions surrounded by faeces, some of which was covered in mould, indicating that it had been there for a considerable time. There was an overpowering smell of ammonia. The dogs’ coats were matted and heavily contaminated with faeces, and one had hair loss. The dogs had no clean lying area. Food and water bowls were also contaminated with excrement and, while some dogs had access to dirty water, others had no water at all.

Inspector Faherty was also concerned about the temperaments of the dog. She could not get close to six of the ten dogs and said that they were showing signs of “fear-aggression”, suggesting they had not been properly socialised.

Having left a notice at an adjacent cottage and receiving no response, Ms Faherty returned on 5th May with a Dog Warden and saw no improvement. Another visit was conducted by Inspector Faherty on 8th May, this time accompanied by Dog Wardens and a Cork County Council Veterinary Inspector.

It was agreed by all that the dogs needed to be removed from the circumstances in which they were housed. The accused was contacted and when he arrived at the scene, he was “argumentative”, “agitated and adversarial”. ISPCA Inspector Faherty told of how the defendant was dismissive of her concerns saying that there was nothing wrong with how his dogs were kept, and that, as a Veterinary Inspector, he knew more than her.

In mitigation, Joe Cuddigan acting on behalf of the accused, argued that his client was under stress at the time because his father had been hospitalised. He also said that his client was not a dog breeder but kept show dogs.

On passing sentence, Judge Colm Roberts said that the explanation given was not supported by evidence and was not credible, and that the nature of the offences was “aggravated by his standing in society and his profession”. Judge Roberts also said that he took judicial notice of the fact that the defendant refused to take the stand and refused to be cross examined.

He imposed a three-month custodial sentence, suspended for two years, and disqualified the accused from keeping dogs for seven years. He also fined him €4,000 and ordered that he pay €5,000 toward prosecution costs.

Judge Roberts instructed that the defendant is to engage with the Probation and Welfare Services and attend all appointments and courses. He also suggested that he could benefit from completing an animal welfare course and some stress management.

Speaking after the case, ISPCA Inspector Caroline Faherty commented: “Animal abuse and neglect happens in all aspects of society. It was shocking that a Veterinary Surgeon, especially a Veterinary Inspector, would keep animals in such conditions. But nobody is above the law and, if anybody doesn’t care for their animals properly, they must be prepared to face the legal consequences”.

ISPCA Animal Welfare Inspectors continue to work tirelessly to remove animals from terrible situations, just like this one. A kind donation will help the ISPCA continue our vital rescue work and care for many more neglected, abused, and cruelly treated animals. If you can, donate online today.


Please continue to report any animal welfare concerns to the ISPCA’s National Animal Cruelty Helpline on 0818 515 515, report online at: or email [email protected].

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