Dog cruelty case sentencing referred to Attorney General

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

South Antrim MLA Trevor Clarke has called on the Attorney General to review the sentencing of a local woman given a suspended sentence for animal cruelty.

Aleisha McLaverty (23) pleaded guilty on Tuesday to a charge of causing unnecessary suffering to the Labrador-type dog last year.

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 body of the severely emaciated dog was found hanging upside down from a blind in the living room of McLaverty’s former home at Firmount Drive in Antrim.

She was given a two-month jail term, suspended for two years, and banned from keeping animals for five years at Antrim Magistrates Court on Tuesday.

Mr Clarke said: “I have written to the Attorney General about the undue leniency of this case, it sends out a reprehensible message that you can commit such a heinous crime against a defenceless animal and get off with a slap on the wrist.

“This animal suffering from starvation and dehydration, in what I am certain was a last ditch attempt to escape from certain death entangled itself in the window blinds where it finally died.

South Antrim MLA Trevor Clarke.

South Antrim MLA Trevor Clarke.

“This case is horrendous and this sentence does not match crime.”

His comments were echoed by party colleague and Antrim and Newtownabbey Councillor Nigel Kells who said the case had “sickened him to his stomach”.

“For the judge to hand down a two month sentence suspended for two years is an absolute disgrace,” Cllr. Kells said.

He added: “It is impossible for me as an animal lover to imagine the suffering this ‘family pet’ must have went through. How vile and cruel an act do you have to commit on an animal for receive jail time?

Councillor Nigel Kells.

Councillor Nigel Kells.

“To ban her from having a pet for a mere 5 years is completely inadequate, She should never be allowed another animal as long as she lives.”