The dog was so neglected that it was mistaken for a “little piglet” saved from life in Hell

Owner Michelle Conolly, of Co. Tipperary, Ireland, pleaded guilty to seven felonies under the Animal Health and Welfare Act 2013 in Nenagh District Court on 12 May

The dogs were kept in extremely poor conditions
The dogs were kept in extremely poor conditions

A dog so neglected the animal was mistaken for a ‘little piglet’ has finally been rescued as its owner has been banned from owning animals for 10 years – but two dogs are still in their possession.

Michelle Conolly, from Co. Tipperary, Ireland, appeared in Nenagh District Court on May 12 where she pleaded guilty to seven offenses under the Animal Health and Welfare Act (AHWA) 2013.

ISPCA Animal Welfare Inspector Emma Carroll visited Connolly’s home in February 2019, where she spotted several dogs, including three being kept in a small cage behind a trailer.

Milly, Dolce and Adam, two Maltese breeds and a poodle, were in extremely poor condition, malnourished and with skin problems – including one dog’s skin which was redrawn.

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Michelle Connolly has been banned from keeping animals for 10 years


accumulation press/ISPCA)

They were malnourished and had painful skin diseases


accumulation press/ISPCA)

Another was underweight with matted hair and discharge, and a third dog had no hair on its tail.

The inspector noted that the tiny poodle was so naked that he “looked like a little piglet.”

Connolly, who was described as “hostile and uncooperative”, initially denied knowing anything about these dogs.

She told the inspector to “leave immediately,” and once even threatened to shut down the electric gate to the property while Carroll was still inside.

The dogs were confiscated and taken to a nearby vet for evaluation and later transferred to the ISPCA for care and rehabilitation.

Connolly contacted the animal welfare organization a month later, claiming the dogs were hers and asking for their return – despite the abuse they had endured.

The animals were held for three years during the trial as the court heard that the ISPCA had incurred a very high cost of housing the animals but was willing to accept a reduced rate.

The dogs were taken in by the RSPCA


accumulation press/ISPCA)

Despite the guilty plea, Connolly was still trying to get the three dogs returned.

Her attorney, Donal Smyth, suggested the loss of the animals would be “serious for a first offence”.

However, Judge Elizabeth McGrath disagreed, saying, “I don’t want the three dogs to be traumatized.”

“These three dogs suffered unnecessarily without proper feeding or a proper level of routine care,” said Inspector Carroll.

“The owner in charge of her has done nothing to alleviate her suffering or ensure her well-being, leading to many problems including malnutrition and untreated skin conditions.

“There is no excuse for animal cruelty and consequently the owner has been criminally convicted of animal cruelty.”

Connolly was fined €2,000 and the judge said she would accept an offer of €5,000 in compensation rather than order the accused to pay the costs.

The dogs went to the ISPCA and Connolly was disqualified from owning, keeping or breeding any dogs for 10 years, with the exception of the two Great Danes which she already owns.

The judge set the recognition in Connolly’s own bond at €250.

Inspector Carroll added: “It has been a long process bringing this case to a conclusion and sadly Milly, Dolce and Adam have had to be detained the whole time.

“That meant they could not be housed permanently.

“But we are very pleased that their future is now secured and they can look forward to a brighter future in a loving new home.”

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