Council “reflecting on level of sentence” handed down for animal cruelty

Aleshia McLaverty, leaves Antrim Court after pleading guilty to dog cruelty by leaving a dog at a house in Antrim. The dog was found dead later tangled in blind cords and suffered from dehydration.PICTURE MARK JAMIESON.
Aleshia McLaverty, leaves Antrim Court after pleading guilty to dog cruelty by leaving a dog at a house in Antrim. The dog was found dead later tangled in blind cords and suffered from dehydration.PICTURE MARK JAMIESON.

The Head of Environmental Health for Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council has said the agencies involved in a high profile animal cruelty case are “reflecting on the level of sentence handed down”.

Clifford Adams said that there has been huge public interest following a suspended jail sentence handed down to Antrim woman Aleisha McLaverty for animal cruelty.

The emaciated dog which was found starved to death. Picture: Mark Jamieson

The emaciated dog which was found starved to death. Picture: Mark Jamieson

McLaverty was given a two-month jail term, suspended for two years, at Antrim Magistrates Court on Tuesday.

She had pleaded guilty to causing the unnecessary suffering and failing to ensure the welfare of a Labrador pup for which she was responsible.

The dog was found hanging from a blind at McLaverty’s former home at Firmount Drive in the town.

A spokesperson for Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council said it had been contacted by local residents “who feel the level of sentence did not reflect this very harrowing case”.

“There has been large scale commentary on social media indicating the public’s dissatisfaction with the punishment handed out in court,” the spokesperson added.

Clifford Todd, Head of Environmental Health for Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council, added: “There is huge public interest in this case and many people have been airing their views on the sentence given.

“All the agencies involved in bringing this case to court are currently reflecting on the case and the level of sentence handed down.

“Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council gives a high priority to the welfare of domestic pets and horses and operates a rigorous enforcement policy to ensure full compliance with legal requirements.

“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.

“This case just highlights the extent of animal cruelty and the difficulties that our officers face in dealing with such horrendous incidents.

“The Council will continue to prosecute for offences, such as in this particularly harrowing case, which I hope serves as a warning to anyone who does not take appropriate care of animals.”