A man who appeared at last week’s sitting of Longford District Court charged under the Dogs (Protection of Livestock) Act received a suspended prison sentence after he was convicted by Judge Seamus Hughes.
Alan Kelly, 8 Colmcille Terrace, Granard, Co Longford appeared before the Judge charged with being in possession of a dog that worried cattle; not having a dog licence and failing to ensure that his dog wore a collar at Rathmore, Aughnacliffe, Co Longford on June 25, 2016.
Superintendent Fergus Treanor said that on the date in question at approximately 4:30pm gardaí saw Mr Kelly with three dogs - Lurchers - and they were “worrying” cattle who were in the field at the time.
“Mr Kelly was asked to produce a dog licence and he said he would produce one at Granard Garda Station, but he failed to do so,” the Superintendent continued.
“The gardaí were called to the area over the incident and there is concern in that particular area over dogs.”
Addressing the defendant directly, Judge Hughes asked Mr Kelly if he had sought permission from the farmer to have his dogs on the land.
“I was chasing foxes and rabbits,” the defendant said, before pointing out that he then let the dogs free to chase the animals.
“The cows were in another field and they weren’t in the field that I was in with the dogs.
“But no, I didn’t get permission to be on the land.”
In mitigation, the defendant’s solicitor Frank Gearty said that it was his understanding that the cattle were in fact in the next field over to where his client was with his dogs, and the defendant believed that his dogs did not cause any distress to the cattle.
“There is a tradition in Granard to get involved in country sporting activities, but Mr Kelly should have gotten permission from the landowner and he knows that now,” added Mr Gearty.
The local solicitor went on to say that his client had three children and for that reason “wanted to avoid prison at all costs”.
During his deliberations on the matter, Judge Hughes said that his problem with the matter was the fact that Mr Kelly failed to get permission from the landowner.
The Judge subsequently handed down a two month sentence which he suspended for three years and he fined Mr Kelly €105 in respect of each of the two remaining charges.