THE Waterford Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) warmly welcomed a jail sentence and lifetime ban from keeping or owning horses handed down in court to a Kilkenny man this week.

Gardaí took the successful case against repeat offender Simon O’Dwyer Snr. of Garue, Knocklyon, Mullinavat, Co Kilkenny who was convicted of 10 counts of neglect under the Animal Health and Welfare Act 2013.

Simon O’Dwyer Snr was sentenced on Tuesday this week at Kilkenny Circuit Court to four years in jail and was ordered to serve two and half years on account of being in his mid 70s. He was also banned by the court from having horses for life. This defendant has multiple previous convictions for animal cruelty.

Appalling conditions

Barbara Bent of Waterford SPCA outlined to The Irish Field how this latest case originated from a visit of Waterford SPCA and a member of the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine on March 14th, 2018 to his farm at Garue and also subsequent visits. “The inspections revealed a total of 41 horses being kept in the most appalling conditions in sheds and stables knee deep in wet dung and most horses had no access to water. Some were eating their own manure due to lack of feed.

“Five emaciated yearlings were housed in a pitch-dark dung filled shed, without feed nor water. At least 30 of horses on site were in very poor condition and there was no evidence of either hay or hard feed present anywhere around the farm. The lack of access to water was a huge problem for most of the horses present on the farm. One horse carcass was present outside a shed in a state of decomposition. A grey mare who was in horrendous condition, was seized and removed immediately from the farm,” outlined the Waterford SPCA spokesperson.