Belfast Telegraph

Life ban for man who locked pets up and went on holiday

By Staff Reporter

A man has been banned for life from keeping pets after he locked his dog and cat up for a fortnight.

Airidas Jurevicius, of Northland Village, Dungannon, was sentenced at Dungannon Magistrates Court on July 10 for abandoning a Staffordshire bull terrier and a cat without reasonable cause on May 26, 2016. He was also charged with failing to look after their welfare needs.

After concerned residents contacted Mid Ulster District Council's welfare service, officers went to a house at Roxborough Heights in Moy.

They found a black and white Staffordshire bull terrier locked in the garage and surrounded by faeces. A tabby cat was discovered in the house, where there was a strong smell of urine.

The officers were told the tenants were out of the country and had left the pets.

A vet was called to the scene and the animals were seized as it was deemed they were likely to suffer if the circumstances did not change.

The owner of the animals, Jurevicius, admitted later during interview that he had gone on holiday to Lithuania. He said he had left enough food for two weeks for the dog and cat but had not arranged for anyone to look after them while he was away.

Jurevicius was banned indefinitely from keeping animals and was ordered to pay £2,011 costs and fined £500.

A disposal order had been granted previously on September 23, 2016, to allow the council to rehome the animals. Jurevicius did not attend court on either occasion.

Commenting on the case, Mid Ulster councillor Ronan McGinley called on people to report any suspicions they had about the welfare of animals.

"I would urge the public to be vigilant and report any suspected cases of mistreatment or cruelty to domestic animals and equines to our animal welfare team on 028 8225 6226," he said.

"Complaints are investigated thoroughly and, where necessary, formal action is taken, which may include the serving of improvement notices or, in extreme cases, the seizure of animals.

"The council may also prosecute for offences, as in this particularly harrowing case, which I hope serves as a warning to anyone who does not take appropriate care of animals."

Meanwhile, the latest figures show that from April 2, 2015 Northern Ireland's councils received 30,496 animal welfare calls, carried out 40,469 inspection visits, and served 1,100 improvement notices.

They also successfully prosecuted 93 animal welfare cases, and there were a substantial number of animal welfare cases being considered for potential prosecution.

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