Dublin woman ordered to pay €13,000 over emaciated Shih Tzu

Dublin Woman Ordered To Pay €13,000 Over Emaciated Shih Tzu
Praising the DSPCA's involvement, Judge Anthony Halpin imposed fines and banned the woman from pet ownership for five years
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Tom Tuite

A dog owner, who failed to get medical attention for her starving, sick and "emaciated" Shih Tzu after rope and chord lodged in its stomach, has been ordered to pay more than €13,000.

Donna Kerrigan of Galtymore Park, Drimnagh, Dublin 12, faced animal welfare charges over the condition of her five-year-old dog Charlie which suffered "prolonged starvation".


The Dublin Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (DSPCA) seized the dog on October 4th, 2021.

Kerrigan repeatedly failed to turn up for scheduled appearances at Dublin District Court, and the hearing proceeded in her absence on Monday.

Judge Anthony Halpin convicted her of recklessness regarding the health or welfare of the dog, and failing to protect and feed her dog.

Banned from pet ownership

Praising the DSPCA's involvement, he imposed fines and banned the woman from pet ownership for five years. In addition, he handed down fines totalling €1,500 and ordered her to pay €11,580 toward the DSPCA costs within three months.


He also ordered the forfeiture of the dog, which has remained in the DSPCA's care since it intervened 19 months ago. The society can now find a new home for Charlie, which has fully recovered.

DSPCA inspector Bartley Finnerty told Judge Halpin that he called around to the defendant's home following complaints from a member of the public about the dog's welfare.

He said Kerrigan allowed him to see the dog, which was under-weight, very lethargic, "and not behaving normally".

The inspector advised her to bring Charlie to a vet. However, when he returned a day later to see it on a public footpath in the same condition, he seized the dog on welfare grounds.


He later interviewed Kerrigan, who said the Shih Tzu had been like that for two weeks after vomiting. She claimed that she tried to bring it to two vets but was told they were not taking new customers.

Bones were visible

DSPCA vet Elise O'Flynn White said the dog was "unable to hold its own body weight", very weak, dehydrated and it had a bad odour from faecal matting and fresh diarrhoea. She described the Shih Tzu, weighing 4.8 kg, as emaciated and said its bones were visible.

It would not eat, but its weight increased within a day to 5.7 kg after drinking water.

During surgery, they discovered a blockage in its intestine caused by the rope and chord material, and its stomach was "completely blocked".

Blood tests showed it suffered "prolonged starvation", but it got better and now weighs 11kg.

Asked by the judge if the dog had eaten the rope and chord because it was starving, the vet said the Shih Tzu might have been starving due to eating the rope and chord. She could not tell which came first.

However, in her opinion, the dog was in pain and distress.

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