Dog owner who let pet starve lucky to avoid prison time
A woman who let her male Doberman dog starve, leaving it emaciated, has been banned from having any pets for one year after she was convicted of animal cruelty.
Megan Russell (22) was fined €300 and also ordered to surrender a Springer Spaniel she currently owns after she admitted neglecting the Doberman.
On viewing photos of the starving dog, Judge Dermot Dempsey said at Balbriggan District Court that he had "never seen the likes of it in a civilised society" and told Russ-ell to "consider yourself lucky you are not facing a custodial sentence".
"How does anyone leave a dog like this? It beggars belief in this day and age," he said.
The court heard evidence from DSPCA officer Liam Kinsella that he received a call from DSPCA dispatch regarding a very underweight Doberman dog.
"I was shocked at the condition of this dog, it was very thin," said Mr Kinsella.
He said he phoned Russell, who was in Belfast, and told her he was seizing the dog. He said that as the dog approached him it was falling over.
"There was no food or water in any of the dog bowls and the kennel wasn't waterproofed," said Mr Kinsella.
He said the dog weighed 15kg when it should have been in the range of 30 to 40kg.
It was diagnosed as suffering from starvation by a vet.
Blood samples were taken by the DSPCA veterinary team that showed there was no underlying medical condition that would explain the serious weight loss.
Russell, of Bath Road, Balbriggan, pleaded guilty to five charges of failing to take all the necessary steps to ensure the dog was kept and treated in a manner that safeguarded its health and welfare on March 16 last year.
Patrick Jackson, defending, said Russell, who lost both her parents several years ago, is "trying to look after herself" as she has had her own difficulties.
He added that the defendant didn't have any money to take the Doberman to a vet but she did phone one, who told her the dog may have stomach problems. He said Russell has "suffered as a result".
Afterwards, Mr Kinsella said: "We are delighted with the outcome of the case. The dog has been re-homed and is doing very well in his new home."