Suspended Custodial Sentence and 10 Year Ban for Animal Owner
January 31, 2018
On 19th January 2018 at Craigavon County Court, Elizabeth McMaster of Edinburgh Street, Belfast was sentenced (following appeal) to a 3 month custodial sentence, suspended for 3 years together with being disqualified from keeping any animals for a period of 10 years. Costs of £45,766.76 were awarded to Lisburn & Castlereagh City Council.
Proceedings were issued on behalf of Lisburn & Castlereagh City Council for:
Causing unnecessary suffering to one dog contrary to Section 4(1) of the Welfare of Animals Act (NI) 2011
for failing to take reasonable steps to ensure the welfare needs of 13 dogs that were seized from land at Tullyard Road, Drumbo and premises at Edinburgh Street, Belfast were met contrary to Section 9(1); and
for breach of a previous disqualification order contrary to Section 33(9).
Ms McMaster was originally convicted and sentenced at Lisburn Magistrates’ Court on 24th August 2017 on the same charges, where an Appeal to the sentence was lodged.
Legal proceedings were instigated following a complaint received on 5th January 2017 by the Animal Welfare Service concerning dogs being kept on land at Tullyard Road, Drumbo, Lisburn. On arrival, 11 dogs were found in cages with no shelter, food or water. One of the dogs was suffering from a severe skin condition. The 11 dogs were seized on the recommendation of the veterinary surgeon and placed into the care of Lisburn & Castlereagh City Council.
On the same day Animal Welfare officers entered a house belonging to Ms McMaster on Edinburgh Street, Belfast. Two dogs were found on the premises despite Ms McMaster being subject to a disqualification order preventing her from keeping animals at this address. The 2 dogs were seized and placed in the care of Lisburn & Castlereagh City Council.
Alderman Tommy Jeffers, Chairman of the Council’s Environmental Services Committee, said:
“The Council gives high priority to the welfare of domestic pets and horses and we operate a rigorous enforcement policy, as this case demonstrates, in order to ensure our full compliance of regulatory requirements.
“Complaints are investigated thoroughly and where necessary offenders are prosecuted. These animals were kept in a deplorable environment without protection from pain, suffering, injury or disease. I commend the work of Lisburn & Castlereagh City Council Animal Welfare Service who brought this case to court and in doing so have relieved that suffering of these animals.
I would urge the public to be vigilant and report any suspected cases of mistreatment or cruelty to domestic animals and equines to our Animal Welfare team on 028 9244 7861. Complaints are investigated thoroughly and where necessary formal action is taken, which may include the service of Improvement Notices or, in extreme cases, the seizure of animals. The Council may also prosecute for offences, as in this particularly harrowing case, which I hope serves as a warning to anyone who does not take appropriate care of animals.”