07 Dec 2021

Edgeworthstown farmer facing cruelty to animals charges

Edgeworthstown farmer facing  cruelty to animals charges

A farmer is due to reappear before Longford District Court charged with cruelty to animals after two dead and decomposing animals were discovered.

Declan Cahill, with an address at, Tinnymare, Edgeworthstown, appeared last Tuesday before Judge Marie Keane, where evidence was given by Sgt Mark Mahon for the state.

Sgt Mahon explained that, on April 27, 2020, Gardaí were called to a wooded area where locals said dead animals were dumped. When Gardaí investigated, they found a Belgian Blue bullock dead in the woods, with both ear tags removed “as though the owner was trying to avoid detection”.

“It had been there for some time and was decomposing,” said Sgt Mahon.

“The area was only accessible on foot, so the animal couldn’t have been dumped there, but appeared to have walked in and was left there to die.”

On further inspection of the surrounding area, Gardaí came across the remains of a black and white Hereford animal.

“It was so decomposed that gardaí couldn’t determine its gender,” said Sgt Mahon.

This animal had its tags and Gardaí were able to trace the animal back to Mr Cahill.

“He was arrested by Gardaí in Granard for cruelty to animals. He denied having knowledge of the animal in the woods but admitted to owning the animal with the ear tag,” said Sgt Mahon.

Mr Cahill has four previous convictions, the court heard, but none relating to these charges.

“I have a picture of the decomposed animal,” Sgt Mahon began, taking out a number of photographs.

“No,” Judge Marie Keane interrupted him, not wanting to see the images, “please, no. Do you have animals in your care?” she asked Mr Cahill.

He replied that he owned 80 cattle.

“I’m going to assign you legal aid because this is a very serious offence,” said Judge Keane, assigning Bríd Mimnagh to the case and warning Mr Cahill to “keep your mouth shut” until his solicitor could speak for him.

When the case returned before the court a short time later, Ms Mimnagh explained that her client did not own the Belgian Blue with the tags cut off its ears.

“He has no previous convictions of this nature and no issue with the Department of Agriculture,” she said.

“The animal was out of the shed and it wandered off but the animal died inadvertently. I’m not giving evidence but I’m married to a farmer, so I’m aware of animal husbandry.”

“As am I,” Sgt Mahon remarked, “and I don’t accept that.”

Ms Mimnagh insisted that her client looked for the animal “but couldn’t find it”.

“He’s in good standing with the Department of Agriculture. This could have serious repurcussions for him,” she said.

“Judge, I’d be anxious to get this dealt with for the welfare of the cattle,” said Sgt Mahon.

Judge Keane agreed to put the case back for disclosure but warned Ms Mimnagh that her client “hasn’t approached this matter with clean hands”.

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