Donkey owner convicted at Lisburn court on animal welfare charges

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A Glenavy man has been found guilty of two charges under the Welfare of Animals Act (NI) 2011 after six donkeys had to be humanely destroyed.

The charges related to James Steele’s failure to make adequate provision for the welfare of six donkeys and causing unnecessary suffering to the donkeys, which ultimately had to be humanely destroyed.

Steele pleaded guilty to the offences and as a result, the Court ordered he pay costs of £1,059.98 and £166.

In addition to the fines, the judge gave Steele a lifetime ban from owning animals, from keeping animals, from participating in the keeping of animals; and from being party to an arrangement under which that person is entitled to control or influence the way in which the animals are kept.

The charges led from a complaint received by Lisburn & Castlereagh City Council’s Animal Welfare Service on 26th June 2015 referring to donkeys with overgrown hooves, so severe that the some of the donkeys could not stand up. The donkeys were kept in fields in the Dundrod, Stoneyford area.

The Animal Welfare Service responded finding 11 donkeys, nine of which had severely overgrown hooves making it very painful and difficult for them to walk. After a full examination the Council’s vet stated that the condition of nine of the 11 donkeys was such that they should, in their own interest, be humanely destroyed.

The two remaining donkeys were seized on the vet’s advice as it was believed the donkeys were likely to suffer if circumstances did not change. The two donkeys were taken into the care of the Council’s Animal Welfare Service until a Disposal Order was granted by the Court allowing the Council to rehome the donkeys into a donkey sanctuary.

Steele was found to be the owner of six of the donkeys and was subsequently convicted under the Welfare of Animals Act (NI) 2011.