Five defendants have pleaded guilty to animal cruelty and neglect of animals at the Wetlands Halting Site in Kilkenny.
A sixth defendant denies all charges and his case has been adjourned for a book of evidence to May 26.
John Carthy, 6 St Catherine’s, Wetlands pleaded guilty to two offences contrary to section 11 and 12 The Animal Health and Welfare Act at House 6, St Catherine’s, Wetlands on February 24, 2021.
Mary Carthy, House 6, St Catherine’s, Wetlands pleaded guilty to two offences under section 11 of the act and two offences under section 12 at House 6, St Catherine’s, Wetlands on February 24, 2021.
Mary Carthy, Bay 7, Wetlands Halting Site pleaded guilty to six offences of animal cruelty and a further six counts of neglect at Bay 7, Wetlands on February 24, 2021.
Thomas Carthy, 13 Connolly Street, Kilkenny pleaded guilty to two counts of animal cruelty and a further two counts of neglect at House 6, St Catherine’s on February 24, 2021.
Katie Doran, 52 St Kieran’s Crescent, Kilkenny pleaded guilty to one offence of animal cruelty and one of neglect at Bay 7, St Catherine’s, Wetlands, Kilkenny.
Detective Garda Edward Laffan told the court that on February 16, 2021 he had obtained warrants for houses six and seven at the Wetlands. On February 24, 2021 Det Gda Laffan accompanied by gardaí and agencies, including a dog rescue and Kilkenny County Council carried out searches at three locations and seized 16 dogs and one foal.
A member of the scenes of crimes unit photographed each dog and a number of people were arrested. Katie Doran was arrested on April 18, 2021 on suspicion of animal cruelty and identified the dog in a photograph shown to her as belonging to her and told gardaí that she did not have the means to bring the dog to the vet.
Another defendant, Thomas Carthy, identified dogs from photographs as belonging to him and told gardaí, ‘they are far from neglected, they are fed twice a day with nuts and water’.
On June 27, 2021 Mary Carthy of Bay 7, Wetlands was detained and questioned at Kilkenny Garda Station. She was shown photographs and identified dogs as hers.
On June 28, 2021 John Carthy of House 6, Wetlands was arrested for animal cruelty. During interview he was shown photographs and he said that the animals were not neglected.
Mary Carthy, also of House6, Wetlands was also shown photographs and also told gardaí that the animals were not neglected.
A vet, Kieran Devaney attended at the scene and said that none of the animals were kept or confined in suitable conditions. He said that all were kept in conditions which neglected the animals welfare.
Det Gda Laffan described the conditions that he observed on the date in questions as ‘extremely poor’ and ‘appalling’.
Evidence was heard that several of the dogs seized, which were mainly lurchers and terriers, were in an emaciated condition and many of them had wounds, scarring and had fleas and mange.
Solicitor, Chris Hogan who was acting on behalf of the defendants said that there was ‘a rat infestation at the site’ at the time and that was the reason ‘why they didn’t leave food out overnight’.
Mr Hogan also said that at the time of the search one of the defendants, Thomas Carthy was ‘in the process of cleaning a wound’ on a dog. Det Gda Laffan agreed and added that the vet had said that the dog needed further veterinary attention and was seized.
Mr Hogan also told the court that a statement had been taken from a member of staff at Paws Animal Rescue which said that there was ‘regular engagement’ between the staff member and the community at the Wetlands.
Det Gda Laffan said that under a council tenancy agreement only two pets are allowed per dwelling and that ‘Bay 7 was clearly over this’.
“All the conditions they were kept in were absolutely appalling,” said Det Gda Laffan.
A volunteer, with Cara, an animal rescue charity also gave evidence that she was requested by gardaí to attend the search on February 24, 2021. The witness said that she observed four dogs loose underneath a caravan, that was boarded up on three sides.
“There was a lot of faeces and rubbish and you were not able to clean in there,” she said adding that she saw a number of dogs tied up. All the dogs were underweight and a few of them were nervous and afraid and a lot of them had old and fresh wounds,” she said adding that all the animals are now in foster care.
Judge Geraldine Carthy adjourned matters for sentencing on May 17 and ordered that animals not be returned to the defendants.
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