We need your help now

Support from readers like you keeps The Journal open.

You are visiting us because we have something you value. Independent, unbiased news that tells the truth. Advertising revenue goes some way to support our mission, but this year it has not been enough.

If you've seen value in our reporting, please contribute what you can, so we can continue to produce accurate and meaningful journalism. For everyone who needs it.


Charity worker fined €250 after starved dogs and animal skulls found

WARNING: This article contains some disturbing images.

WARNING: This article contains some graphic images. 

A WOMAN IN Galway has been fined €250  for animal cruelty after eight neglected dogs were taken from the rescue centre she runs last year.

Sarah Gunther, who runs East Galway Animal Rescue in Moyglass, Loughrea, was charged with eight counts of animal cruelty and received the fine last Wednesday at Galway District Court.

It follows the discovery of a number of severely neglected dogs by staff of Galway SPCA, who were called to the scene in July last year.

At the premises, which has a derelict house and a number of outbuildings, GSPCA staff and gardaí, found what the charity described as “dilapidated kennels” and rubbish.

Galway SPCA Galway SPCA

Animal skulls

On its Facebook page, GSPCA said feed bowls were “embedded in the dirt” and a dog corpse was found in one of the kennels, as well as a number of animal skulls.

There were eight dogs in total at this location of varying breed and sizes along with one dead dog. None of which had any food or water visible. All of the dogs on site seemed in very poor condition.

Galway SPCA Galway SPCA

Most of the dogs were bull terriers or Staffordshire bull terriers and the images from the day they were rescued show how neglected they were.

Galway SPCA Galway SPCA

The dogs were seized by gardaí and taken to a local veterinary surgery where five were found to be in an “emaciated state”.

All eight dogs had very little muscle covering and overgrown nails. While some others had very weak hind quarters and pressure sores. The vet concluded after examination that it was evident that these animals were totally neglected, not fed properly, not cared for and it was the worst case of neglect and animal cruelty that he had ever experienced.


Sarah Gunther pleaded guilty to the eight charges and received a fine of €250.

On her rescue centre’s website, the organisation says its goal is to inform people about bull breeds and their potential to make loving pets, as many people are wary of them.

“We have had many success stories in the past and very few dogs have proved to be unhomeable,” it says. “EGAR has a strict non-kill policy; the only exception is terminal illness. Unhomeable dogs stay with us for the rest of their natural lives.”

Healthy dogs

The dogs seized last year are all in the care of GSPCA but there is a chance that the now healthy, well cared for animals will have to be handed back to the person charged with neglected them.

Galway SPCA Galway SPCA

Gunther told the court hearing last week that she would like to have the animals back and can now make an application to gardaí to have them returned to her.

GSPCA said it will be making “every possible effort” to prevent this and a petition started last week now has more than 2,500 supporters.

Charity worker fined €250 after starved dogs and animal skulls found
1 / 6
  • East Galway Animal Rescue

  • East Galway Animal Rescue

  • East Galway Animal Rescue

  • East Galway Animal Rescue

    Source: Galway SPCA
  • East Galway Animal Rescue

  • East Galway Animal Rescue

Read: This is why a woman was banned from keeping dogs for 2 years>

Read: Video shows ‘dog’ literally melting away in hot car>

Your Voice
Readers Comments
    Submit a report
    Please help us understand how this comment violates our community guidelines.
    Thank you for the feedback
    Your feedback has been sent to our team for review.