Belfast Telegraph

Animal cruelty pair accused of breaching ban

By Paul Higgins

A horse dealing father and son once jailed for a "horrific" animal cruelty case were back in court yesterday accused of breaching a disqualification order.

At Antrim Magistrates Court, 58-year-old Robert James McAleenan and his son Conor McAleenan (31) were jointly accused of breaching a disqualification order imposed under the Welfare of Animals Act in October last year.

Following defence applications, the case was adjourned and District Judge Oonagh Mullan said she would hear the case again next Tuesday.

In December 2014 the father and son, both from the Lisnevenagh Road in Antrim, were banned from owning or keeping animals for 25 years for what Judge Desmond Marrinan described as "one of the worst cases of animal cruelty" he had ever encountered.

The pair had pleaded guilty to a total of 32 charges of causing unnecessary suffering to 63 horses, ponies and donkeys at their farm in 2011. Conor McAleenan, who owned the animals, was handed a sentence of 14 months, while his father, who owned the farm between Antrim and Ballymena, was given a nine-month sentence.

The judge ordered that their terms be split half and half between jail and supervised licence conditions.

Summing up the case, Judge Marrinan said the scene which confronted vets and police was one of horror and overpowering stench.

The court heard dead animals were lying in a heap while others were standing around in filth.

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