Jurisdiction has been refused in the case of an alleged illegal puppy farm in Edgeworthstown, following last week’s sitting of Granard District Court.
Judge Hughes made the decision to refuse jurisdiction when he was furnished with photographs of the large number of dogs seized by the ISPCA earlier this year, and the conditions in which they were kept.
“I know I’m not doing any favours to the Circuit Court, but I think it’s deserving of the Circuit Court considering the extent of the activities and the size of the commercial activity that it was,” he said.
At last month’s sitting of Granard District Court, it was agreed that two confiscated dogs would be returned to the family on the condition that all other animals be surrendered to ISPCA care.
Jonathan Wykes, Jane Ward, Margaret Stokes, Johanna Stokes and Chantel Stokes, all of Lisnanagh, Edgeworthstown, reappeared before last Friday’s sitting of Granard District Court, where they pleaded guilty to not having a dog licences or microchips, but not guilty to charges of animal cruelty and neglect.
Kevin and Margaret Stokes are also charged with having a premises not registered as an established breeding facility.
Lucy McDermott of the same address pleaded guilty to not having a dog licence, while Kevin Stokes did not plead to any charges.
Jonathan Wykes, before the court, claimed ownership of a Johnson Bulldog, named Tiger, which is to be returned to the family. He also claimed ownership of a great dane.
Jane Ward claimed ownership of an American Bull Terrier and an Old English Bulldog, as well as four pups.
Margaret Stokes claimed two Old English Bulldogs, which were confiscated, while Johanna Stokes claimed an English Bulldog and an American Bulldog.
Four German Shepherds and an American Bulldog were claimed by Chantel Stokes, while Lucy McDermott claimed ownership of one American Bulldog.
“I’m looking at photos of the conditions of these animals,” said Judge Hughes.
“I see this business of matting. Here’s a picture of a dog that seems to be cowering in fear.”
An ISPCA inspector present in court last Friday confirmed that “some of the dogs were fearful because they’re not socialised”.
Sgt Mick Hogan confirmed that all of the accused were facing hefty fines or substantial prison terms if found guilty.
The case will now go to the Circuit Court and has been adjourned to January 15 for DPP directions.