Newtownabbey man jailed for total of 11 months after what judge described as ‘appalling’ act of animal cruelty
Experienced animal welfare officers were shocked and disgusted at the condition in which they found two large dogs at a house in Newtownabbey.
Not only were the animals suffering from severe malnutrition, they were also living in a room with faeces and blood on the floor — and one food dish had maggots under it.
The dogs’ owner, David Blair (44), was subsequently jailed for a total of 11 months for what Judge George Conner described as “an appalling case”.
Blair, with an address at Ballycraigy Park, had previously pleaded guilty to causing unnecessary suffering to his Pug and Mastiff type dogs as well as failing to ensure their welfare.
Proceedings followed an investigation by Antrim and Newtownabbey Council’s Animal Welfare staff who visited Blair’s home in January 2020 and were shown into the back hall of the property.
They found the two dogs, named Toto and Skye, living in a room with faeces and blood on the floor.
This newspaper understands that upon inspection of the dog’s food dish, the officer observed maggots under it, while the rear garden was also found to be covered in dog faeces.
The dogs were taken into possession by the council and transported to the council vet for examination.
Toto, a Pug, was examined and body scored 1/5 and weighed only 5.7kg, while the second dog, Skye, a female Mastiff type, was body scored 0/5 weighing only 26kg.
In addition to their poor body conditions, both dogs were living in unacceptable conditions and were certified as suffering.
With treatment, Skye increased in body weight to 34.7kg, while Toto’s weight increased to 8.1kg.
Blair appeared at Laganside Magistrates Court via video link on October 8 after previously pleading guilty to both charges brought by the council under the Welfare of Animals Act (NI) 2011.
The court heard that, had Animal Welfare not intervened, there was a great chance the two dogs could have died.
Judge Conner imposed a custodial sentence of seven months for causing unnecessary suffering and a four months custodial sentence for failing to ensure the welfare of these dogs, to be served concurrently. Mr Blair was also ordered to pay £100 towards the council’s costs and £100 in legal costs.
Referring to the case, a spokesperson for Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council said it “gives a high priority to the welfare of domestic pets and horses and operates a rigorous enforcement policy to ensure full compliance of regulatory requirements”.
“Complaints are investigated thoroughly and where necessary, formal action is taken, which may include the service of Improvement Notices, or in extreme cases, seizure of animals,” said a spokesperson.
“The council may also prosecute for offences such as in this case which I hope serves as a warning to anyone who does not take appropriate care of animals”.
Last month, this newspaper reported that four dogs were rescued after being nearly starved to death in Carrickfergus, while a father and son from the Ballyclare area were heavily fined and banned from keeping animals after being found in filthy conditions.
If you have concerns about the welfare of an animal, contact the Northern Region Animal Welfare Team on 028 2563 3134 or send a email to firstname.lastname@example.org.