‘Immobile’ Edgeworthstown man tells court he can't look after animals

Liam Cosgrove

Reporter:

Liam Cosgrove

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liam.cosgrove@longfordleader.ie

‘Immobile’ Edgeworthstown man tells court he can't look after animals

Close to a dozen gardaí had to bring a wheelchair bound Longford man accused of running an unregistered dog breeding establishment to court last week after a warrant was issued for his arrest.

Kevin Stokes, Lisnanagh, Edgeworthstown, Co Longford, was wheeled into court last Tuesday by several members of uniformed gardaí to answer close to 60 charges of animal neglect and breaches of the State’s dog licensing laws.

Sgt Mick Hogan gave evidence of arresting Mr Stokes earlier that day at his home in Edgeworthstown.

He said after caution Mr Stokes told him: “I never had no dogs. I am a cripple, I can’t look after animals because I am a cripple.”

Mr Stokes, the court was told, faces multiple charges under the Animal Health and Welfare Act 2013, nine counts of failing to microchip dogs in his possession and 25 charges of contravening dog licensing laws.

Those charges emanated after a search of Mr Stokes’ home was carried out by gardaí and ISCPA inspectors on May 7 2020.
Five other co-accused appeared four days previously and were bailed until October 16 next.

Staring up at the bench while holding a blanket to cover his legs, the 53-year-old, who at one point appeared to be fighting back tears, claimed he had been forcibly removed from his house to attend court.

“I swear on my dead child’s grave,” he told Judge Seamus Hughes.

“I am after being bet your Honour.

“They (gardaí) made me kneel on my knees the whole way (to court).”

In defence, solicitor Fiona Baxter said her client was “very immobile” and would be unable to come up with a €500 cash lodgement to meet his bail terms.

Asked by Judge Hughes how much was coming into the family home on a weekly basis, Mr Stokes’ wife, Margaret who is also facing similar charges, said approximately €432 was being received by both her and her husband.

She indicated the bulk of those monies ordinarily went on grocery bills and said she simply “hadn’t got” the means to meet her husband’s required cash lodgement for the court.

It was also revealed a further €540 a month was being taken in through child benefit with five of the couple’s dependants under the age of 18.

“I’m 22 stone weight,” shouted Mr Stokes, as Judge Hughes insisted on the accused tendering €250 before releasing him on bail.

That sum was eventually paid with Mr Stokes being remanded on bail to appear back before Longford District Court on October 16 2020.