Penalties need to be strengthened

Instances of significant animal cruelty were cited at this month’s meeting of Clonmel Borough Council, in support of calling on the agriculture minister to strengthen animal cruelty penalties.

Instances of significant animal cruelty were cited at this month’s meeting of Clonmel Borough Council, in support of calling on the agriculture minister to strengthen animal cruelty penalties.

Horrific examples of neglect, abandonment and mistreatment of animals in Clonmel and South Tipperary were given by Cllr Helena McGee whose motion received unanimous support.

“Animals impaled on fences, dogs left dead on our bypass, puppies thrown dead on footpaths on our bypasses, horses hung under bridges, horses found abandoned on the quays on Clonmel, horses found on green areas in our estates, I have even seen a horse tied to the middle of a roundabout iin this town on my way home one night,” she said.

“It is absolutely deplorable that this is allowed to happen.

She said that over the past six months she has contacted the Council offices on numerous occasions in relation to animal cruelty issues, and received full support from them. However she wants agriculture minister Simon Coveney to review the Animal Health and Welfare Act 2013.

Cllr McGee wants to see increased penalties imposed on individuals who are found guilty of animal cruelty.

She wants such a person to be prohibited from owning an animal ever again, and she also wants to see increased funding given to sanctuaries and shelters that care for abandoned horses and animals.

She commended Minister Coveney for recently allocating €1.8m to 136 such charity groups around the country.

The increased funding this year helped a Roscrea-based shelter re-open its doors, she said.

But she was more critical of the national and local TDs whom she wrote to specifically on this issue, seeking their support.

“I received 12 responses from the 166 TDs I contacted which I thought was shocking and appalling, I only received one response from the local TDs, that was from from Seamus Healy. I find it disturbing that there isn’t all-party support for this because I don’t think this is a party issue,” she said.

The motion will be sent to Minister Coveney, and circulated to all other local authorities in the country.