A judge has handed a five-year equine ban to a Cork man and ordered him to pay €3,000 to the ISPCA.
Patrick Walsh, with an address at No. 1 Youghal Road, Killeagh, Co Cork, appeared before Youghal District Court on October 15th, 2021.
He pleaded guilty to two counts under section 12 of the Animal Health and Welfare Act 2013 (AHWA).
This case was prosecuted by the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM).
The case related to a visit ISPCA inspector, Alice Lacey, made to a location in Reanaboola, Clashmore, Co. Waterford on Tuesday, June 2nd, 2020, in response to a report about two ponies in a field.
She told the card that upon arrival, it was immediately obvious that one of the ponies, a Chestnut male lying down, was in distress.
He was overweight, and his hooves were “horrifically” overgrown. He struggled to get to his feet and, when he eventually managed to stand up, he was “very unsteady” and unable to bear weight on his left front leg.
The second pony, a grey dun female, also had very overgrown hooves and was very overweight.
Both ponies were immediately removed to the ISPCA Equine Rescue Centre in Mallow for an urgent veterinary assessment.
Upon examination, the female pony, later called Bumble, was estimated to be about 18 years of age. The vet said she was morbidly obese and suffering from laminitis.
All four hooves were overgrown, and it was evident that hoof care had been “severely neglected”.
The pony was also suffering from sweet itch, an inflammatory condition of the skin.
Besides, the male chestnut pony was estimated to be 8-years-old. He was extremely lame and obese. On closer inspection, an open wound that was infested with maggots was found inside the cavity of the hoof.
X-rays of the front two limbs confirmed a “severe” rotation of the pedal bone in the hoof, indicating that the pony had been suffering from laminitis over a prolonged period.
On veterinary advice, the vet put him down to prevent further suffering.
Following urgent farrier care and a strict diet in ISPCA care, Bumble made a full recovery and was later rehomed.
A failure and lack of action
ISPCA inspector Alice Lacey said: “If owners are unable to look after their animals responsibly, then they shouldn’t have them; it’s that simple.”
“These two ponies had suffered needlessly. It was distressing to see the level of neglect they would have endured over a prolonged period.”
“They would have been in severe pain with every step they took, which could have been prevented with proper animal husbandry and care.”
“Owners have a legal and moral obligation to provide for the animals in their care.”
“In this case, there was a complete failure and lack of action to address these issues, which led to both ponies’ prolonged and unnecessary suffering. Turning a blind eye to such issues will not be tolerated.”
On imposing the disqualification, Judge Brian O’Shea commented, “The most aggravating factor, in this case, is the significant neglect of these two animals – it’s outrageous in fact.”
“The accused bought these animals, knew very little and simply neglected them,” he added.
He adjourned that matter until June 3rd, 2022, indicating that if the accused failed to pay the costs by that time, he would convict, fine €1,000 and impose a two-month custodial sentence.
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