Two dead animals found in defendant's home, court hears

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The case was heard at Craigavon Magistrates' Court.

Staff Reporter

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A Lurgan woman, who had two dead animals in her house and 19 other suffering pets, has been disqualified from owing an animal for a period of ten years.

The case of Lisa Glendinning (unknown age), of Marlborough Park, was heard at Craigavon Courthouse sitting on Tuesday, June 7.

The court heard that animal welfare and the PSNI attended an address in Lurgan on November 11, 2020, to execute a search warrant.

After getting into the property, officers were struck by the strong smell of ammonia and noticed rubbish, sharp items, clutter and animal faeces in every room.

Multiple dogs were climbing over the rubbish and the council vet found it difficult to breathe due to the atmosphere created by the stale urine.

There was no food evident in the kitchen, the sofa and chairs in the living room were ripped and covered in urine and faeces, with a fish tank and three fish inside.

There was also a bird cage with a deceased parakeet which had its head jammed in the bars of the cage, whilst another decomposed animal was found inside a hamster run.

A budgie was also located which had no access to water.

Upstairs of the property was cluttered but there were no animals were presented.

The council vet advised that the animals were not living in a suitable environment and their welfare needs were not being met. The two deceased animals provided further evidence of neglect.

The vet deemed all animals to be suffering and to be removed from the property. As a result, 15 dogs, three fish, a budgie and the dead parakeet was removed.

On November 12, officers returned to the property and left a calling card with details to the defendant’s mother, whilst on the same date, the council vet examined each dog and reported that almost all of them had overgrown coats matted with dirt and faeces which is unhygienic and painful.

Four dogs suffered from moderate to severe dental disease which required cleaning under general anaesthetic and some extractions. There was no indication that veterinary treatment had been sought.

The vet remarked that the animals did not live in a suitable environment, the house was too small and the levels of ammonia would be worse at ground level where the dogs lived.

The destruction of the furniture indicated a degree of frustration being demonstrated by at least one of the dogs in this environment, which meant they could not exhibit normal behaviour.

The deceased parakeet which had its head wedged between the bars would have been distressed and would have made it obvious to a reasonable owner that it was suffering.

The vet advised that the animals were not protected from pain, suffering, injury and disease, and all animals were suffering.

On 16 November, 27 November, 14 December and 21 December, 2020, officers posted pace-interview letters with the defendant and numerous attempts were made to contact her and she did advise she was at the hospital at one point, however, she did not answer the pace interview questions nor sign over the animals to the council.

In her defence, the court was told that it was “an absolute horrendous set of facts” and it was explained that the defendant and her son were subject to a paramilitary threat and removed themselves from that house and moved in with her mother.

At this stage, Glendinning instructs that she asked her friend to look after all the animals and that she had no reason to believe this wasn’t happening.

DJ Trainor said: “The facts have been outlined to the court and all that heard them will be appalled at the level of injury and suffering that you inflicted upon these animals, including 15 dogs in a house.

“To say the court is appalled by it is an understatement and the duration of the suffering and the clear evidence that the animals were suffering was apparent when those who were in authority entered the house.

“There is clear evidence that you knew and you continually allowed these animals to suffer.

“To cause this type of suffering to animals of a variety of breeds and natures is simply unacceptable to this court.

“You might stand there and equivocate about what you knew or didn’t know about what your understanding was or wasn’t, but you are a mature person and this court has no reason to conclude otherwise as evidence by your plea that you did this on purpose.”

The Judge imposed a six month custodial sentence for causing unnecessary suffering to animals and a three month custodial sentence for failing to meet the needs of animals.

The periods of custody are to run concurrently and were suspended for two years.

Glendinning was disqualified from having animals for ten years.

The defendant was also ordered to pay £76 service costs and £200 legal costs.

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