A LETTERKENNY man has been convicted of animal cruelty at Letterkenny District Court after pleading guilty to causing unnecessary suffering to seven horses. Adrian Browne (44) with an address at 15 Newbrook Court, Letterkenny, was fined €500 and ordered to pay €456 in costs by Judge Paul Kelly.
The case resulted from a visit made by ISPCA Inspector Kevin McGinley and Gardaí to lands at Trentaboy, Drumkeen, on December 30, 2013 when eleven horses were discovered in a field.
Garda Harvey Maughan told the court that he went to the field at Trentaboy having received reports of alleged animal cruelty. On arrival he said he was met by a “horrific scene” and said the horses had “absolutely nothing to eat”. He said the field was quite large and was totally water-logged. “It would not be an embellishement of the truth to say there is more grass in this court room,” he added.
Garda Maughan told the court the horses had “relatively little shelter” and said there was no sign of supplementary feed being given to the animals.
He called to the defendant’s home and organised to meet him at the field the following day. On that occasion, Browne initially denied ownership of five of the horses but then agreed that he owned seven of the eleven. The remaining four horses had to be put-down, said Garda Maughan.
The defendant’s solicitor, Mr Seamus Gunne told the court that his client is a well-known horse trainer who keeps “very fine and well-kept” animals and has even won the prestigious Dingle Derby.
He said that his client maintained four of these horses had been “dumped” in his field and pointed to an article written by ISPCA Inspector Kevin McGinley highlighting that such a problem did exist in the county.
Mr Gunne said that Browne had been feeding the horses a supplemetary diet of bread sourced from a local bakery and had simply “taken his eye off the ball here” and is very apologetic for his actions.
Speaking after the ISPCA Inspector McGinley said “There was no grass available and I could not see any supplementary food. Shelter was very minimal given the fact it was the end of December and the only water available was from a drain. Some of the other horses were in very poor body condition with their back bones and ribs clearly protruding. I observed a brown horse trying to eat bushes in search of food”.
Due to his concern for some of the animals, Inspector McGinley contacted Department of Agriculture vet Guaetano D’urso for assistance. “On veterinary advice, four horses were humanely euthanized to prevent further suffering. When the equines were scanned for microchips, only one was found to be chipped and none were registered to Mr. Browne.”
ISPCA McGinley added: “This was a horrific form of cruelty and it was unfortunate that these defenceless animals had to ensure such suffering”.
He appealed to members of the public to report animal crulty: “If you suspect an animal is being cruelly treated, neglected or abused, please contact the ISPCA National Animal Cruelty Helpline in confidence on 1890 515 515 or report online on http://www.ispca.ie/if_you_suspect_animal_cruelty/”