Longford District Court
A south Longford farmer who breached the orders of the district court appeared before Judge Seamus Hughes last week where he was told the Department of Agriculture, Food & the Marine would seize his cattle and dispose of them if he failed to tag, register and test the cattle as soon as possible.
James Casey (47), Lismacmanus, Lanesboro, Co Longford appeared before Judge Seamus Hughes convicted of trespassing at the home of James Mullooly at Gurteegan, Lanesboro and stealing milk replacer on May 15, 2016.
He was also further convicted of allowing his cattle to wander on the road at Fermoyle, Lanesboro on June 1, 2016; stealing seven bags of animal feed from a meal bin at Gurteegan, Lanesboro on May 8, 2016 and driving without insurance at Gurteegan, Lanesboro on May 22, 2016.
Following the defendant’s conviction and with the help of the Department’s veterinary inspector Mr Sweeney, Judge Hughes ordered Mr Casey to get his cattle tested; get tags; have a BVD test carried out and reduce his stock to 10 animals.
Last week’s district court sitting heard the defendant had failed to carry out the orders.
Mr Sweeney told Judge Hughes that many of the cattle had neither been tagged or registered nor had the farmer reduced his stock after being requested to do so.
In his direct evidence to the court, Mr Sweeney said that two thirds of the animals had been tested at this stage, however the Department had understood that the remaining animals were to have been tested between May 15 and 20 last.
The court heard the test in May had not been carried out.
“While this hasn’t happened, Mr Casey has secured tags for the animals; he has animals there that need to be tagged and registered,” Mr Sweeney added.
Counsel for the defendant, John Quinn then pointed out to the court that his client had arranged a test for Monday.
“Mr Casey has tags but was unable to tag the animals because they were nervous and he couldn’t get them in to tag them,” Mr Quinn said.
Judge Hughes then asked Mr Sweeney what powers the court had to bring the matters to an appropriate conclusion.
“If I send this man to prison today, who will look after the animals?,” asked the Judge.
Mr Sweeney then told the court there were two actions, he, as a veterinary inspector with the Department, could take under the Animal Welfare Act.
One, he said was to seize the untagged and unregistered cattle and dispose of them, or two, the Department could take the animals to a premises in Co Longford and carry out all the necessary tagging and registration there.
Mr Sweeney also told the court that he had spoken to Mr Casey’s vet prior to the court sitting and was subsequently unconvinced that a test would be taking place on Monday.
Meanwhile, Mr Quinn insisted that the test would be carried out on Monday.
“We hope that when the test is done, we will be in a position to carry out the promises that were made to the court,” he continued.
Garda Egan then told the court that he too had contacted the vet and was under the impression that no test date had been set by Mr Casey.
“I don’t think that Mr Casey is capable of the husbandry of animals,” remarked Judge Hughes before pointing out that neither did the defendant instil any confidence in the court.
“He is just not capable of running a farm.”
Mr Quinn then asked the court to afford Mr Casey just one week to get the affairs of the cattle in order.
“If the test is not carried out on Monday as Mr Casey says it will, then he can be at the peril of the court thereafter,” the solicitor added.
“Just give him until July 4 to get the tags and registration done.”
Mr Sweeney then pointed out to the court that all the animals needed to be tagged, TB tested, BVD tested and all calves born since January 1, 2013 registered.
“It will take longer than a week to sort all that out,” he told Judge Hughes.
The Judge then told Mr Casey that he wanted to see a genuine effort made by him to have the animals registered and once the matters were complied with, all animals bar 10 were to be disposed of.
During his deliberations on the matter, Judge Hughes said he was affording Mr Casey “one final chance” to get his agricultural affairs in order.
“This is your last shot Mr Casey, otherwise Mr Sweeney will have to take on the responsibility of disposing of your animals,” the Judge concluded.
The defendant will appear back before the court later this month.