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Suspended sentence for County Antrim woman in animal welfare case

Ms Kathy Marshall was sentenced at Laganside Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday 21st September after previously pleading guilty to causing unnecessary suffering and failing to ensure the welfare of 4 dogs which she owned.

The charges were brought against the Ms Marshall by Mid and East Antrim Borough Council under the Welfare of Animals Act (NI) 2011.

Proceedings followed an investigation by Council’s Animal Welfare Officer who visited the Ms Marshalls property in Carrickfergus on 19 December 2019. Due to the poor body condition of the dogs observed at the time, officers requested that a vet attend the property.

A number of dogs were found living at the property in a malnourished state and the dogs were ravenous when provided with food.

Council vet examined the dogs and advised all dogs were body scored 1/5 except for one dog body scored at 0/5 as it was extremely thin. A dog body scored 0/5 is starving and looking at the dog there are bony prominences evident, no evident discernible body fat and loss of muscle mass. The dog was so underweight that if veterinary intervention had not taken place the dog would not have survived its malnourished state.

All dogs were cared for and made a full recovery and were successfully rehomed through an Animal Sanctuary.

Judge Conner sentenced Ms Marshall to 4 Months imprisonment suspended for 12 months on each count. Ms Marshall was also ordered to pay £230 towards Council’s veterinary costs and £80 towards legal costs. Judge Conner also imposed a 10 year Disqualification Order.

Commenting on the case a spokesperson for Mid and East Antrim Borough Council said:

“Council gives a high priority to the welfare of domestic pets and horses 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, seizure of animals.

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

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