Suspended sentence for Carrick woman after dogs found in ‘malnourished state’

A Carrickfergus woman was sentenced on Tuesday (September 21) after previously pleading guilty to causing unnecessary suffering and failing to ensure the welfare of four dogs she owned.

Monday, 27th September 2021, 10:50 am
Updated Monday, 27th September 2021, 2:14 pm

Kathy Marshall (32) of Sunnylands Avenue was sentenced at Laganside Magistrates’ Court after charges were brought against her by Mid and East Antrim Borough Council under the Welfare of Animals Act (NI) 2011.

Proceedings followed an investigation by the council’s Animal Welfare Officer who visited Marshall’s property on December 19 2019. Due to the poor body condition of the dogs observed at the time, officers requested that a vet attend the property.

A spokesperson for the local authority said: “A number of dogs were found living at the property in a malnourished state and the dogs were ravenous when provided with food.

The council’s Animal Welfare Officer visited Ms Marshall's property on December 19 2019.

“The council vet examined the dogs and advised all dogs were body scored 1/5 except for one dog body scored at 0/5 as it was extremely thin. A dog body scored 0/5 is starving and looking at the dog there are bony prominences evident, no evident discernible body fat and loss of muscle mass.

“The dog was so underweight that if veterinary intervention had not taken place the dog would not have survived its malnourished state. All dogs were cared for and made a full recovery and were successfully rehomed through an animal sanctuary.”

Judge Conner sentenced Marshall to four months imprisonment suspended for 12 months on each count. She was also ordered to pay £230 towards the council’s veterinary costs and £80 towards legal costs. Judge Conner also imposed a 10-year Disqualification Order.

The council spokesperson added: “Council 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.

A number of dogs were found living at the property in a malnourished state.

“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. 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.”

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