July 2023

Newry woman kept eight dogs in conditions so appalling six had to be put to sleep

A Newry woman who neglected eight dogs and kept them in such an appalling condition six of them had to be put to sleep.

Stephanie McLoughlin, formerly of Barcroft Park, was prosecuted at Newry Magistrates’ Court this week, after pleading guilty to causing unnecessary suffering to dogs in her care and for failing to take reasonable steps to ensure the welfare needs of the animals were being met.

The charges were brought by Newry, Mourne and Down District Council under the provisions of the Welfare of Animals Act (Northern Ireland) 2011 after a report concerning the welfare of dogs kept at the property.

An Animal Welfare Officer visited the property on June 28, 2021 observing one terrier type dog at the rear and three terrier type dogs on the living room windowsill.

All animals appeared to be in poor condition, frail and displaying obvious chronic skin conditions.

McLoughlin became abusive, refused to allow the officer access, and proceeded to remove three dogs from the property.

PSNI officers had to be called to assist and facilitate the investigation to continue.

Upon gaining entry to the property, the Council’s Animal Welfare Officer found extremely unhygienic conditions, floors littered with canine faecal matter, discarded waste materials, tin cans displaying evidence of canine bite marks and a strong smell of ammonia gas associated with canine urine and excrement.

The Council’s contracted vet assessed the animals and the environment they were being kept in and determined that all dogs were to be removed from the property.

The vet certified a total of eight dogs to be taken into the Council’s possession. The dogs required immediate veterinary attention.

Six dogs were found to be suffering from severe inflammatory parasitic skin disease which had been ongoing for a long period, the severity of which led to the dogs having to be humanely destroyed for their own welfare. The remaining two dogs were able to be rehomed by the Council.

Upon hearing the facts and the plea and mitigation, the Judge ordered that McLauhglin receive a disqualification order preventing her from keeping animals for a period of 10 years, issued a fine of £250.00 for causing unnecessary suffering and imposed a conditional discharge for period of two years for McLoughlin’s failure to ensure the welfare of animals in her care.

In addition, Ms McLoughlin was ordered to pay £176 legal costs and a £15 offender’s levy.