Greyhound trainer operated knackery

 

A well-known greyhound trainer operated an unlicensed knackery to feed his dogs, a court in Co Kerry has heard.

In a case brought by Minister for Agriculture Mary Coughlan, Padraig Regan, of Banemore, Ardfert, pleaded guilty to operating the unlicensed knackery in December 2002.

He had taken over the operation from his father 3½ years previously, the court heard.

He had now regularised his affairs, and was buying meat for his dogs.

Mr Regan told Judge James O'Connor at Tralee District Court that farmers in north Kerry would ring him to collect dead animals such as cattle.

No one told him to stop, and "other dog keepers were at the same at the time".

He said he immediately complied with the department when they told him not to collect any more animals, and he filled in the quarry where carcasses were dumped.

Declan Holmes, area inspector with the department, said its special investigating unit had found the knackery at Banemore. It had knives, a freezer and a cooker.

He said Mr Regan would find out about a dead horse or cattle. He would take in the dead animals, skin them, cut up the meat and dump the carcasses in a disused quarry on his land.

The quarry was not fenced off and was accessible to wild birds.

Asked if the knackery was a health hazard, Mr Holmes said: "Every bovine animal over 30 months must be tested for BSE. These animals had not been tested."

Mr Regan's solicitor, Dave Ramsay, said his client was engaged in an old practice which did not become an issue until the advent of BSE.

His client had no previous convictions, and was a local greyhound trainer with "a lot of upmarket clients".

Judge O'Connor fined Mr Regan €750.

The court was told that the maximum fine was €1,000.