A man who was previously employed by Kilkenny County Council to collect and care for at-risk or abandoned horses has been sentenced to 16 months in prison for animal cruelty.
Joseph Moran, from Summerhill in Meath, has contracts with nine different local authorities to take in and care for seized animals. His contract with Kilkenny County Council, which involved re-locating neglected horses to Urlingford Horse Pound, had expired before the cruelty offences came to light, and it had not been renewed.
Last month, Mr Moran was found guilty of cruelty to animals kept on his own land in Meath. Following complaints from the ISPCA, a veterinarian had visited the site and found two horses in such a state of neglect that they had to be immediately euthanised.
The vet told the court that the animals had suffered ‘institutional abuse’, and that they were malnourished and lacking water. He also found the carcasses of five other horses, some of which had been there for some time.
Handing down the sentence, Judge Patrick McMahon said he was surprised to hear that Mr Moran still held contracts with a number of local authorities.
“This person is totally unfit to deal with any form of animal and it would be my wish that he is banned for life from keeping horses,” he said.
Carol McCarthy of Kilkenny County Council’s environmental department said that the council had been ‘frankly appalled’ to hear of the offences. A contract for the position with the local authorities will be going to tender in the coming weeks.