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Dublin: 5 °C Friday 19 December, 2014

Elderly man banned from keeping dogs in ‘graphic and horrific’ case

The 80-year-old was also handed down a three-month suspended sentence after the ISPCA discovered four dead dogs and four emaciated Collies at his property in Cork.

One of the dogs rescued in Cork.
One of the dogs rescued in Cork.
Image: ISPCA

AN 80-YEAR-OLD man has been banned from ever owning a dog again in a case described as “the most graphic and horrific” the garda inspector had seen.

Andrew Doherty of Rowels, Meelin in Cork was convicted of animal cruelty and handed a three-month suspended sentence.

“If he was a younger man, I would lock him straight up without hesitation,” said presiding judge Brian Sheridan.

Last February, ISPCA inspector Lisa O’Donovan visited Doherty’s property following a complaint to the charity’s helpline. On gaining access, she found four emaciated Collies locked in “filthy dark sheds”.

She also discovered four Collies which had already died. One was still chained within the shed.

The live dogs were described as “skeletal”, with one weighing in at only 5.5kg, less than one third of its optimum weight.

According to animal welfare group, the dogs were extremely nervous on being rescued. “It took hours of gentle coaxing to get even the slightest wag of a tail,” it said.

“This was a particularly horrendous act of cruelty,” added O’Donovan. “Although we managed to save four of the dogs, one cannot help but think of the poor dogs that perished.”

Warning: Graphic images

Elderly man banned from keeping dogs in ‘graphic and horrific’ case
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  • Cork

    A grisly discovery at the Cork property.
  • Cork

    More disturbing images of cruelty at the sheds.
  • Cork

    The dogs have now found new homes.
  • Cork

  • Charlie

    Charlie has found a new home with the Kelly family.

Speaking in court, Judge Sheridan praised the work of the ISPCA and, in particular, the welfare inspector Lisa O’Donovan who he said had “persisted” on seeing the other property on Doherty’s holding, despite being told an untruth by him.

The four surviving dogs were taken to the ISPCA’s National Animal Centre where they underwent months of rehabilitation to address their physical and mental problems.  All were eventually rehomed with experienced owners where they needed more time to overcome their difficult pasts.

“This case highlights what the work of the ISPCA is all about” said the society’s Chief Inspector Conor Dowling, “the 3 R’s – Rescue, Rehabilitation and Rehoming. And, when there is evidence of a criminal offence of cruelty, we will endeavour to have those responsible held accountable”.

Read: Over 50 horses seized from Cork site

More: Animal charity euthanised dogs at roadside following loss of premises

Animal Welfare: Vets ‘shocked’ that tail docking could be allowed under new regulations

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