Mr Daniel Gerrard Taggart of Rockfield Drive in Portaferry was found guilty of two charges under the Welfare Of Animals Act (Northern Ireland) 2011 at Ards Magistrates Court.
These charges related to Mr Taggart causing unnecessary suffering to his dog and also failing to meet the needs of his dog.
Mr Taggart’s dog was seized from his house by Ards and North Down Borough Council’s Animal Welfare Officer after a vet had confirmed that the dog was suffering. The vet reported it was the worst case of toenail overgrowth he had ever seen, in over 13 years of practice. The vet estimated that the nails would have taken at least 18 months to get into the condition they were, making it highly unlikely that the dog received any exercise in a long time.
Mr Taggart received a lifetime ban from keeping or having any involvement with any animals; he was handed a custodial sentence of 3 months (suspended for 12 months) and was also ordered to pay all costs, totaling £963.27.
In summary, the magistrate, Mr Mateer said that he must send a clear message out to the public that this behavior will not be tolerated. Mr Mateer accepted the mitigating factors that were given on behalf of the defendant, but still said that regardless of all else that any person has to deal with in life, if they are responsible for the care of an animal, then they must meet all the needs of the animal.
David Lindsay, Director of Environment for Ards and North Down Borough Council, added: “This recent conviction underlines the Council’s zero tolerance approach to animal cruelty and neglect. Those found guilty of animal cruelty can face up to five years in prison and we will continue to prosecute offenders.
“If you are unable to give your pet the care they need, please contact the Council or seek help from one of the many fantastic animal charities in the area.”