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Custodial sentence for Co Antrim man after pleading guilty to animal welfare charges




David Blair, aged 44, of Ballycraigy Park, Newtownabbey area appeared via videolink and was sentenced at Laganside Magistrates’ Court on Friday 8 October, after previously pleading guilty to causing unnecessary suffering to a Pug type dog and a Mastiff type dog and failing to ensure the welfare of these dogs.


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



Proceedings followed an investigation by the Council’s Animal Welfare Officer who visited the property in January 2020. The Animal Welfare Officer witnessed two severely malnourished dogs at the property.


The Welfare Officer was shown into the back hall of the property and witnessed the dogs here living in a room with faeces and blood on the floor. On inspection of the dog’s food dish, the officer observed maggots under it.



The rear garden was covered in dog faeces. The dogs were taken into possession by the Council and transported to the Council vet for examination.




“Toto” was examined and body scored 1/5 and weighed only 5.7kg and the second dog “Skye” a female Mastiff type was body scored 0/5 weighing only 26kg.



In addition to their poor body conditions, both dogs were living in unacceptable conditions and were certified as suffering.

The dog named Skye increased in body weight to 34.7kg and the pug “Toto” increased to 8.1kg. Had Animal Welfare not intervened there was a great chance these dogs could have died.




Judge Conner noted this was an ‘appalling case’ and imposed a custodial sentence of 7 months for causing unnecessary suffering and a 4 months custodial sentence for failing to ensure the welfare of these dogs to be served concurrently.


Mr Blair was also ordered to pay £100 towards Council’s costs, £100 in legal costs. Mr Blair was also disqualified from keeping animals for 10 years.



Mr Blair previously pleaded in respect of causing unnecessary suffering to the pug and mastiff type dog and failing to ensure the welfare, which are offences contrary to section 4 and 9 of the Welfare of Animals Act (NI) 2011.



Commenting on the case a spokesperson for Antrim and Newtownabbey 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”.



If you have concerns about the welfare of an animal, contact the Northern Region Animal Welfare Team on T. 028 2563 3134 or E. animal.welfare@midandeastantrim.gov.uk