Belfast Telegraph

Sunday Life

Belfast woman starves dog to death then asks council to take it away

By Christopher Woodhouse

This is the woman who was rumbled for letting her dog starve to death after asking the council to remove its body.

Shocked officials found another starving dog curled around its dead companion when they visited the home of Theresa McGahey.

She was charged with animal cruelty offences after Belfast City Council staff visited her property in response to what they thought was a routine call.

A source told Sunday Life that when workers arrived at McGahey's home in the west of the city, they found a Staffordshire bull terrier lying dead in a shed.

Another emaciated but living dog was curled around the dead one.

It's understood McGahey also asked the council to take the other dog away because she believed it had been poisoned, but she denied having deprived it of food.

McGahey was charged with one count of causing unnecessary suffering to a brindle and white Staffordshire bull terrier.

She was further charged with failing to meet the needs of the dog.

Court documents stated the abuse of the animal occurred over a 14-month period between January 2016 and March 2017.

McGahey, of Fort Street, had been due to stand trial on the charges but pleaded guilty to causing unnecessary suffering.

While she pleaded not guilty to the charge of failing to meet the needs of the dog, this was left on the books.

At Belfast Crown Court last week, her sentencing was adjourned until August 28 to allow a psychiatric report to be compiled.

During a previous court hearing, McGahey's barrister described her as a "very vulnerable lady with a significant mental health history".

It's understood the other dog found at her home has since been returned to health and rehomed.

When Sunday Life called to McGahey's property and asked about the dog starving to death, she said: "And what?"

She went on to blame the Housing Executive for what happened to the animal, which she said was called Tyson, claiming "they were doing work to the house". She also denied deliberately starving it.

McGahey added that she was worried about her sentencing next month. She insisted she had loved the animal and had pleaded guilty because she did not want to go through a trial.

Belfast Telegraph Digital

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