Farmer faces jail for animal cruelty

A 77-year-old Mullingar farmer is facing a five month sentence for having what a judge described as “a dying wound on a live animal”.

Judge John Neilan accused John McNamee of Ladestown, Mullingar of being “too mean to get the vet out, too mean to look after your livestock but prepared to draw money from every angle”.

Convicting him of animal cruelty, he imposed a five month prison sentence which he adjourned to February to allow Mr McNamee come up with a €5,000 donation for the ISPCA.

He described Mr McNamee’s arrogance as “appalling and putrid” and said he had “no insight, no concept of the suffering of animals”.

He added that the farmer had shown “no sense of contriteness, remorse, compassion, or understanding” and was trying to “trivialise and minimise the injury” which consisted of a wound nine inches long by four inches wide.

Mr McNamee said the wound consisted simply of a piece of skin which had fallen down, a comment which drew the wrath of the controversial judge who accused him of being “a doubting Thomas who has to put his hand into the wound” to prove that it’s real.

Inspector Brendan Hughes of the ISPCA became aware of the mare’s condition because of a complaint in October last year. There was a foul smell and “a fair deal of swelling”.

It cost the animal welfare organisation several thousand euro to cure the horse, which Mr Hughes said would never race again.

Mr McNamee has a previous conviction for cruelty to sheep, dating back to 2004. Mullingar District Court heard he had tried to treat the mare himself but had not been successful. His vet was aware of the injury but had not seen it.

When pushed by the judge he admitted his “few fields” amounted to a hundred acres and he had 150 cows and weanlings and more than a dozen horses.

Mr McNamee told the judge he had made him “upset and distraught” and rejected the suggestion that he didn’t care for his animals. “We look after horses, we love horses,” he said, pointing out that he breeds animals for sale.

Judge Neilan said the photos shown to the court were “offensive” and said there were “no circumstances at all where he would allow anyone to feed off the profits of animals” suffering to the extent he had seen.

He said he will make a decision on whether to ban Mr McNamee from keeping animals when he appears before him in the New Year.

In a statement issued this week, the ISPCA confirmed that “ISPCA Inspector Brendan Hughes responded to a report by a concerned member of the public in October 2008 and discovered a grey mare with a long-standing untreated leg injury around which extensive scar tissue and proud flesh had formed”.

“The horse was seized and taken to the ISPCA’s National Animal Centre in Keenagh, Co Longford where it received substantial veterinary care over a prolonged period. She was later surrendered to the care of the ISPCA and has made a full recovery,” read the statment.

Inspector Hughes added; “This case again emphasises the responsibility animal owners have to organise prompt veterinary attention for animals in their care which are sick or injured. Failure to do so can have very serious consequences.”



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