A CLAREMORRIS man has been handed a suspended prison sentence after a donkey subjected to ‘inexcusable’ treatment was found dead in a shed on his land.
John Noone (68) of Apartment 1, Ard Clar, Claremorris, was also banned from owning any animals in the future at last week’s sitting of Castlebar District Court.
Sergeant Margaret O’Connor told the court that on December 7, 2017, a veterinary inspector with the Department of Agriculture, Peter Byrne, called to Mr Noone’s site at Robeen outside Claremorris and found the dead donkey in an ‘advanced state of decomposition’ in the shed.
After taking photos of the donkey to show to the Gardaí, the microchip in the animal was traced to a man in Donegal, who said he sold it to Mr Noone when it was in ‘good shape’ and a ‘healthy animal’.
The court heard that he sold the animal to Mr Noone in September 2017. It was found dead three months later, in December.
Sgt O’Connor told the court that when Mr Byrne initially arrived to the site, he discovered a dead white pony that was tied to a gate, before discovering the donkey on further inspection. There was signs on the ground around the pony that it had struggled before its death.
The court was told that this was not part of the prosecution, and that Mr Noone denied any part in it.
Defending solicitor Mr Tom Walsh said his client – who has 28 previous convictions, all bar one for road traffic offences – took full responsibility for the death of the animal, but argued that it had contracted an illness from the ‘green grass’ in the site in Robeen after being brought from a different pasture, ‘which is not uncommon’.
He said that Mr Noone placed the sick animal in the shed and it brought hay, but that at the time Mr Noone’s wife, whom he was separated from, took ill in England and passed away, and he had travelled over to see her.
A death notice handed into court said that Mr Noone’s wife had passed away on August 23.
Mr Walsh said the donkey’s death was an ‘oversight’ on his client’s part and that Mr Noone was ‘not proud of it’, adding that it ‘was not a pretty site’.
Mr Walsh said he fully apologised and that his client has no involvement in animals now. He explained Mr Noone has a number of health issues, and that he helps his daughter look after her children due to the recent passing of her husband.
He told the court that he made a contribution of €200 to a local animal cruelty prevention centre.
Judge Fiona Lydon said: “What the animal was subjected to is inexcusable.”
She banned Mr Noone from having any involvement with animals for life and requested a receipt of the contribution to the local animal cruelty prevention centre.
She sentenced Mr Noone to two months in prison, but suspended the sentence for two years.