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Carnlough couple sentenced after pleading guilty to causing unnecessary suffering to their dogs

Seamus and Stacey Lee, aged 36 and 34, of the Drumalla Park area, Carnlough, were sentenced at Ballymena Magistrates’ Court on 25 November, after previously pleading guilty to causing unnecessary suffering to a Boxer dog and failing to ensure the welfare of the animal and a Jack Russell Terrier dog.

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

Proceedings followed an investigation by the Council’s Animal Welfare Officers, who visited the Lees’ property in September 2019. Due to the environmental conditions which both dogs were living in and the concerns in relation to both dogs, Officers requested that a vet attend the property.

The Boxer, known as Keela, was described as being excessively thin, with an ingrown dew claw measuring one inch embedded into her leg, an infection and sores from long term lying on unsuitable surfaces. The Boxer was also living in filthy conditions. The vet certified Keela as suffering.

The second dog, a Jack Russell Terrier, known as Tara, was in good body condition, however, her living conditions were so unsuitable that the vet also certified that Tara be removed from the property.

Judge Broderick imposed a Community Service Order on Seamus Lee of 150 hours and ordered that he pay £1000 towards Council’s costs. Stacey Lee received a two-month suspended sentence for 12 months.

An application by Council to disqualify both defendants from the keeping of all animals was granted by the court for a period of five years. The dogs removed from their care were successfully rehomed by the Council.

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. 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.”