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Irish Independent
Irish Independent
Anne Lucey

Farmer could face jail in Kerry animal cruelty case

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A one-year-old Angus cross breed male animal was staggering on three legs in a field near Killorglin, Co Kerry, “shaking with pain” , when agricultural inspectors and Department of Agriculture vet called to carry out a farm inspection.

The animal was missing the bottom of one of its hind legs and bone was protruding. It was a warm May day and while the animal had plenty of grass he was unable to get to the drinking trough 250 metres away, Killarney District Court was told on Monday.

An “overwhelming stench” emanated from a trailer in which had been placed the carcass of a cow which had been dead for some weeks, probably, Killarney District Court was also told.

John C. Casey, otherwise known as Christy Casey, of Crosstown, Killarney, aged 62, was summonsed to do with animal cruelty, failure to bury a cow carcass, and breaches of various regulations.

He had been informed of the hearing, for which special time had been put aside, but was not in court, was not replying to texts and phonecalls and his legal team had received no instructions, the court was told.

Some 14 witnesses were assembled “ from all over the country”, Tom Rice, prosecuting outlined, for the special day sitting, Mr Rice said.

Katie O’Connell barrister for Mr Casey sought an adjournment.

Department of Agriculture vet Louis Reardon said he was accompanied by a large number of colleagues when they entered the lands on May 17 to carry out an inspection and Christy Casey/John C Casey was present.

The agricultural lands at Corbally, Killorglin were not owned by the accused but were leased by him in an informal arrangement, the vet said.

Mr Casey refused to give his address.

There was a strong sense of putrefaction emanating from a trailer where there was a dead cow, partially covered with straw..

“There was an overwhelming stench. The carcass was quite desiccated and dried out and I formed the view it had been there some weeks,” Mr Reardon said.

Under European legislation a dead animal must be removed promptly to the knackery and brain tissue from all cows over four years – tissue which degenerates rapidly - must be sampled for BSE, Mr Reardon outlined.

The accused co-operated “to a point” but would then get abusive.

It was not feasible to bring in one of the animals so they could inspect him, so they had to go to the field where they found an animal on three legs.

“He was missing the bottom portion of one of his hind legs, Judge,” Mr Reardon said, detailing how the one-year-old Angus cross was “shaking with pain”. Video evidence was handed into Judge David Waters .

The stump was quite swollen and bone was protruding. It was mid-May and the fly season was about to take off and the open wound would become infected with maggots, Mr Reardon said.

All the weight was being transferred to the right hind leg and the sinews were under strain .

“I was of the view it was there for a number of months,” the Department vet said of the animal’s condition.

“There was nil prospect of recovery”, he also said.

A local vet was called and it was decided to euthanize the animal. Mr Casey had been vehemently opposed to this, Mr Reardon said.

Three separate summonses pertained to that matter under the Animal Health and Welfare Act including causing unnecessary suffering.

18 animals had been moved and there were no bovine passports made available as required in movement of cattle, Mr Reardon said.

In a subsequent inspection on 9th July most of the animals on the farm in Killorglin were not on the farm register which was found to be “wildly inaccurate”, and “a lot” of the animals on the register were not present.

The Department inspectors were told these were on a holding just outside Macroom and they had been stolen or had gone missing.

Katie O’Connell barrister, instructed by Eimear Griffin solicitor, told Judge Waters she could not cross-examine as she had no instructions from her client.

Casey was convicted on ten summonses brought by the Minister for Agriculture, Food and The Marine under EU regulations as well Irish.

Judge Waters has adjourned penalty to allow Mr Casey to give further instruction and produce mitigating evidence.

Although the prosecution had indicated they would not seek a custodial sentence, the judge said there was a possibility he would consider a custodial sentence in the summonses relating to the animal cruelty

He adjourned sentencing to June 7th in Killarney.

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