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Man let pet collie die of starvation

Animal welfare groups have called for tougher sentences after a man let his pet dog starve to death.

Paul McIlwaine, of Riverside Park, Castledawson, was charged with cruelty to animals when he appeared at Magherafelt Magistrates Court yesterday.

The court heard police were asked to attend McIlwaine’s home in July last year by a local dog warden.

A prosecution solicitor told the court that on entering the kitchen of the house they found the pet collie dead on the kitchen floor in an “emaciated and unkempt” state.

The court also heard the starving dog hadn’t been fed for two weeks even though dog food sat on a nearby table which was out of reach of the unfortunate animal.

Defence solicitor Shane O’Neill told the court that McIlwaine “struggles to cope” and added: “It’s a sad case and he had a drinking problem at the time.”

District judge Desmond Perry sentenced Mr McIlwaine to one month in jail suspended for 18 months and banned him from owning or keeping animals for five years.

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He said: “Irrespective of what condition you were in it’s a disgrace you had not the decency or common humanity to ensure this animal was kept in food.

“You are not to keep or own any pet for a period of five years and there should be no further offence of this nature or you will be serving the sentence I have imposed.”

Last night David Wilson from the Ulster Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals called for stiffer sentences for those who abuse animals.

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