Pair jailed for animal cruelty

Conor McAleenan, who owned the animals, received a 14-month jail sentence
Conor McAleenan, who owned the animals, received a 14-month jail sentence

A father and son have been jailed for a cruelty case described the judge as “one of the worst he has ever encountered.”

Conor McAleenan, 28, was sentenced to 14 months and Robert, 55, for nine months.

PACEMAKER BELFAST   28/11/2014 Robert James McAleenan leaves Antrim magistrates court this afternoon.'Robert James McAleenan, 54, and his 27-year-old son Conor are accused of 15 counts of causing unnecessary suffering to ponies and a donkey at their Lisnevenagh Road farm in November 2011.

PACEMAKER BELFAST 28/11/2014 Robert James McAleenan leaves Antrim magistrates court this afternoon.'Robert James McAleenan, 54, and his 27-year-old son Conor are accused of 15 counts of causing unnecessary suffering to ponies and a donkey at their Lisnevenagh Road farm in November 2011.

The pair who are from the Oldpark area of North Belfast will serve half the sentence in custody and half on licence.

They pleaded guilty last month to a total of 32 charges involving causing unnecessary suffering to the animals between November 1 and 25, 2011.

The bulk of the animals, 45 of them, were moved to a neighbouring farm, before being looked after by a number of charities and animal sanctuaries. In all there were 63 horses, ponies and donkeys. The corpses of six animals were found rotting, while three others had to be put down, so emaciated and beyond help were their condition.

When interviewed Conor McAleenan claimed that the horses found dead, had only died a couple of days before the arrival of police. He said he was in the business of buying and selling animals for slaughter, and had not wanted them treated with anti-biotics because he did not want the chemicals in the food chain.