Three members of a Tipperary family have been jailed in “one of the worst” cases of animal cruelty inspectors have ever seen.
Atherine Reilly, 71, Martin Reilly Snr, 43, and Michael Reilly Jnr, 27, have been sentenced to prison for the shocking abuse of 27 dogs – including 10 puppies – on land in Killeens, Ballinunty in Co Tipperary.
Many of the dogs were chained to a house and nearby abandoned buildings when ISPCA inspectors visited Gardaí in the summer of 2021.
Some lived in metal cages, a cattle trailer, an open shed, and one was left tied to a tree.
They were starving and lacking clean water, the court heard, and many were suffering from untreated wounds and infestations.
One was “found on the verge of death and it was a miracle he was still alive,” said an inspector, while another had a bruised neck from the chain embedded in his skin.
The case was described last Thursday as “egregious” by Cashel Circuit Judge Brian O’Shea, who said: “These dogs were living in conditions that are said to be ‘not fit for a dog’.
“The defendant had no regard for animals or their welfare. Many of the animals required veterinary care but were sadly left waiting.
“These dogs were starving, thirsty, living in urine and feces.”
The 27 dogs removed from the properties included Lurchers, Salukis, Belgian Malinois, a Greyhound, a German Shepherd and a Chihuahua.
They were left without clean drinking water, the court heard.
A Lurcher dog had an old broken leg while another was heavily pregnant and severely underweight.
Many suffered from infestations and untreated wounds in “one of the worst cases of cruelty” ISPCA Inspector Alice Lacey has ever seen, she said.
“A total of 27 dogs were rescued, all neglected to varying degrees.
“One special dog was Ed, he was on the brink of death and it was a miracle he was still alive.
“The welfare of these dogs had been declining for an extended period of time, culminating in a multitude of welfare issues leading to their removal and placement in the care of ISPCA.
“It was extremely disheartening to think that these animals were left without their most basic needs.”
The three family members were sentenced to a total of 13 months in prison after pleading guilty to a total of eight charges under the Animal Health and Welfare Act 2013.
“This case is at the high end of gravity,” Judge O’Shea said in her sentencing last week.
“The defendant turned a blind eye, and that didn’t happen overnight. The atrocity was long-term and sustained, and the damage was significant.
“Aggravating factors include the sheer scale of the cruelty and the number of animals removed.
“Katherine Reilly and Michael Reilly pleaded guilty early but I cannot give the same weight to Martin Reilly Snr when he pleaded guilty late.
“I take into account family responsibilities and health issues, but this case is outrageous.”
Katherine Reilly (71) was sentenced to one month in prison on three counts – all in a row.
The younger Michael Reilly received a two-month prison sentence, to be served on two consecutive counts, and Martin Reilly Snr was sentenced to two months in prison on three consecutive counts.
All three are banned from keeping animals for 25 years and have to pay 9,190 euros in costs.
“This case should serve as an example that there will be serious consequences for anyone who chooses to neglect or treat animals in this way because we always have a choice,” Ms Lacey commented.
“When we choose to bring an animal into our lives, we assume a responsibility, commitment and legal obligation, the importance of which should never be underestimated or minimized.”
https://www.independent.ie/irish-news/courts/three-members-of-family-jailed-for-one-of-the-worst-cases-of-animal-cruelty-ever-seen-42312096.html Three family members jailed for “one of the worst” cases of animal cruelty ever seen