A dog is now unrecognisable after being rescued from “horrendous” conditions where 55 other pets were kept – most of them without water.
Pup Lacey was found at a property in Lismore, County Waterford, Ireland in October 2020 alongside the other dogs, which were found living in a house and in sheds.
The conditions were described as having a lack of natural light and little ventilation, a build-up of faeces and an “overpowering stench of ammonia”.
Most of the dogs did not have access to water and were found to be suffering from a range of health issues including untreated skin conditions, malnourishment, bite wounds and matted coats which were caked in faeces and urine.
A number of the dogs were also blind which it was believed was as a result of inbreeding, as well as being terrified of human contact and “almost feral” down to having little socialisation and care.
ISPCA inspector Alice Lacey was on the scene, describing it as “extremely challenging and distressing”.
She said: “The smell was indescribable and the living conditions were horrendous, the majority of dogs were not used to being outside in fresh air, and shuddered at any sign of human touch.”
Sadly, due to the severity of their physical and psychological states, a significant number of the dogs were euthanised to end their suffering.
But a large majority were successfully rehabilitated after spending considerable lengths of time in ISPCA care, making full recoveries and going on to find loving new homes.
One dog in particular, named Lacey, looks completely different after being showered with love and care, has been re-homed to a loving owner.
On 13 May, brothers Patrick and Michael O’Brien of Monaman, Lismore, Co. Waterford pleaded guilty to offences under the Animal Health and Welfare Act 2013.
They received four-month custodial sentences from Judge Brian O’Shea as well as both brothers being disqualified from owning any dogs for life and were ordered to pay costs of €1,330 and €1,979 in veterinary fees.
On passing sentence Judge O’Shea said that the case was “at the upper end of the range of gravity” and “undoubtedly the worst cases of animal abuse” that he had seen.
He said: “It never seeks to amaze me how bad these cases can get. You see one bad case and think it can’t get worse, but it does”.