Three members of the same family received a total of 13 months in jail sentences at Cashel District Court after pleading guilty to a combined eight charges, under the Animal Health and Welfare Act (AHWA) 2013.
Mr. Michael Reilly (27), Mr. Martin Reilly Snr (43) and Ms. Katherine Reilly (71) admitted the offences under sections 11, 12 and 13 of the AHWA, in relation to 17 dogs and 10 puppies that were removed from properties and land at Killeens, Ballinunty, Co Tipperary on Wednesday May, 26th and Friday, June 4th, 2021.
The dogs included Lurchers, Salukis, Belgian Malinois, a Greyhound, a German Shepherd, and a Chihuahua.
ISPCA Senior Inspectors Alice Lacey and Emma Carroll visited the property, along with members of An Garda Síochána.
A large number of dogs and puppies were discovered to be in varying degrees of neglect, both physically and regarding their living conditions, and lack of clean drinking water.
The court heard that many of the dogs were chained at the dwelling house and at an abandoned building close by.
The living conditions for some of the dogs consisted of a metal cage, a cattle trailer, and an open-ended corrugated shed.
One dog was found to be tied to a tree in forestry behind the dwelling house. Most of the dogs were without clean drinking water and had extremely poor body condition.
One of the Lurcher dogs removed had an old leg fracture, a female Lurcher was heavily pregnant and severely underweight, an emaciated Greyhound, a Belgian Malinois dog had an injured neck due to the chain embedding in its skin. In addition, many dogs were found to be suffering from parasitic disease and untreated wounds.
Katherine Reilly was sentenced to one month imprisonment on each of three charges with the sentences to run consecutively,
Michael Reilly was sentenced to two months imprisonment on each of two charges to run consecutively and Martin Reilly Senior, who did not enter an early guilty plea, received two-month sentences on each of three charges, the sentences to run consecutively.
In addition, Judge Brian O’Shea imposed 25-year disqualifications from keeping all animals on all three defendants and ordered that they pay a total of €9,190 in costs. Forfeiture of two dogs seized at the time of the offences was also ordered.
On passing sentence Judge O’Shea said: "This is a serious case of animal cruelty. Inspector Lacey’s evidence was cadent and frank.
"She gave stark, detailed, and accurate evidence. These dogs were living in conditions, as the saying goes, “not fit for a dog to live in”. The accused had no regard for animals or their welfare.
"Many of the animals needed veterinary attention but were left aggrievedly waiting. These dogs were starving, thirsty, living in urine and faeces. This case lies on the upper range of gravity.
"The accused turned a blind eye, and this didn’t happen overnight. The cruelty was long-term and ongoing, and the harm was significant."
He said the aggravating factors include the sheer scale of cruelty and the number of animals removed.
"Katherine Reilly and Michael Reilly entered an early guilty plea, but I can’t attach the same weight to Martin Reilly Snr as he entered a late plea of guilty," Judge O'Shea said.