Man sentenced for causing unnecessary suffering to dog

editorial image

A Randalstown man has been given a suspended sentence after pleading guilty to causing unnecessary suffering to his West Highland Terrier type dog.

Francis McErlain (59), of Church View, was sentenced at Antrim Magistrates Court, today after pleading guilty to causing the unnecessary suffering and failing to ensure the welfare of a West Highland Terrier type dog for which he was responsible.

The charges were brought against McErlain by Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council under the Welfare of Animals Act (NI) 2011.

The charges related to findings following an investigation by Animal Welfare Officers regarding offences, which related to a severely underweight dog which was heavily matted in its own faeces had severely overgrown nails digging into its paws and was living in filthy conditions.

Upon veterinary examination, it was found that the dog was emaciated, had a chronic skin condition and was suffering from dental abscesses.

The conditions of the dog were such that to prevent further chronic suffering and pain, upon veterinary advice it was euthanized.

After considering the pre-sentence report and representations made on behalf of McErlain, District Judge Whyte imposed a two-month jail term, suspended for two years, and disqualified the defendant from keeping any animal for a 10 year period.

He was also ordered to pay costs of £241.

An Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council spokesperson said: “Council gives a high priority to the welfare of domestic pets and operates a rigorous enforcement policy to ensure full compliance of regulatory 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.

“The Council may also 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.”