Pensioner pleaded guilty to animal cruelty

Pensioner pleaded guilty to animal cruelty

A pensioner who pleaded guilty to animal cruelty charges at Letterkenny District Court may have a jail term suspended if he removes all animals from his farm by the beginning of November.

Leslie Stewart, 69, of The Thorn, Letterkenny entered guilty pleas in relation to four charges under the European Communities (Welfare of Farmed Animals) Regulations 2010 on Monday.

Judge Paul Kelly has ordered Stewart not to keep any animals on his farm after several horses and donkeys were found starving on his lands.

Animal welfare inspectors outlined to the court how they visited Mr Stewart’s farm at The Thorn in Letterkenny on several occasions and found animals in various states of starvation.

Department of Agriculture Veterinary Inspector, Desmond Lavin, told the court he was forced to euthanise a number of animals including two donkeys, two calves and a pony during different inspections.

The defendant had 25 previous convictions in relation to animal welfare and had been banned from keeping sheep for 15 years back in 2000.

Solicitor, Kieran O’Gorman, said his client did not pay for any of the animals of his farm but that he had taken them after they were abandoned.

Judge Paul Kelly said he was seriously considering a jail sentence in the case and adjourned sentencing to November 1 to ensure there were no animals left on his property.

He asked both ISPCA Inspector Kevin McGinley and Inspector Lavin to inspect Stewart’s lands adding the only reason he is considering suspending the sentence is because of his advanced years and circumstances.