Woman found with dead, stolen dog avoids prison term

Judge tells reckless accused sentence avoided only because she is mother to three-year-old boy

A Tipperary woman who kept a stolen, dead dog in filthy conditions in a concrete yard has avoided a prison sentence because she has a young child.

Bridget Beer of Carrick-on-Suir, Co Tipperary, was convicted before the District Court last Thursday of handling stolen property, contrary to section 17 of the Criminal Justice (Theft and Fraud Offences) Act, 2001.

On April 22nd last year, an inspector from the Irish Society for the Protection of Animals (ISPCA) visited a home in Carrick-On-Suir at the request of the local dog warden.

Inspector Alice Lacey found three dogs in a concrete yard at the back of the property. One of the dogs was dead and the yard was covered in dog faeces, plastic and other rubbish. There was also raw meat scattered around and the "smell was putrid", Ms Lacey told Carrick-on-Suir District Court.

Gardaí were alerted and attended the scene. The two live dogs, a female whippet and a female lurcher, were taken away by the ISPCA. They had not been microchipped.

A microchip was found in the dead animal showing he had been reported lost and suspected stolen a year previously.

His owner, Seán Redmond, told the court his dog, Stan, went missing on November 1st, 2019, with another dog. The other dog returned 10 days later but he never saw his dog again.

The ISPCA left notices at the address where the dogs were found and was eventually contacted by Beer.

During interview, the woman claimed she had hand-reared the dead dog with a bottle from when he was two days old. She said she no longer lived at the house but returned there to feed the dogs.

In court last week, Beer gave evidence that she was actually referring to one of the other dogs when she said this.

She claimed to have bought Stan through an online advert but was unable to identify the seller who dropped the animal to her house.

Case adjourned

She said she would have returned the dog if she knew it was stolen. Beer also claimed to have brought Stan to the vet for treatment of mange but was unable to explain why the vet did not scan for a microchip.

Judge John O’Leary convicted Beer on the evidence of Ms Lacey. He told the accused she had been reckless and, if not for her three-year-old son, he would have imposed a prison term.

The case was adjourned to October 7th by which time Beer must pay Mr Redmond €500. The owner indicated he would prefer the money to go to the ISPCA.

Ms Lacey said the case emphasised the importance of microchipping dogs.

“While we were not able to reunite Stan with his beloved owners at least there was some form of justice for him and them. If he had not been microchipped today’s conviction would not have been possible.”

The ISPCA said it encourages members of the public to report animal welfare concerns on their website, via the National Animal Cruelty Helpline on 0818-515 515 or by emailing helpline@ispca.ie

Conor Gallagher

Conor Gallagher

Conor Gallagher is Crime Correspondent of The Irish Times