A Kerry farmer has been found guilty of what Judge David Waters said was the “worst case of animal cruelty” he had ever encountered,
ohn C Casey (63), otherwise known as Christy Casey, of Crosstown, Killarney, Co Kerry had been convicted in April by Judge David Waters of ten offences at Killarney District Court following an investigation by a team of Department of Agriculture officials, headed up by vet Louis Rearden.
Mr Casey had not attended the original hearing in April due to a mix-up over dates, but he was in court this week to hear Judge Waters slam him for his treatment of the injured animal as well as his failure to adhere to a series of Department of Agriculture regulations regarding moving and tracking animals.
Judge Water recalled seeing a video of the injured animal which clearly showed the cow with part of one of its hind legs missing and bone protruding and the animal staggering in pain after Mr Rearden testified that he thought the animal may have been two months in that state of pain and distress.
“I saw the video of the animal hobbling about with part of its leg missing and in serious distress – in all my time dealing with cases of animal cruelty, nothing approaches this – there was a complete disregard for the animal’s welfare – it’s the most serious case of cruelty I have ever come across.”
Judge Waters found Casey guilty of causing unnecessary suffering to a one-year-old Aberdeen Angus Cross at rented lands at Corbally, Killorglin on dates between November 19th, 2018, and May 17th, 2019, contrary to Section 12 of the Animal Health and Welfare Act 2013.
He also found Casey guilty of being in possession of the carcass of a dead cow at rented lands at Corbally, Killorglin on May 17th, 2019, in breach of Regulation 3 of the European Union (Animal By-Products) Regulations 2014.
Judge Waters also found Casey guilty of other offences regarding the movement of cattle including that he failed to notify the Department of Agriculture of the death of an animal within seven days as was required by Animal Health and Welfare (Bovine Movement) Regulations 2014.
Judge Waters said Casey had shown “zero remorse” for his actions in relation to both the animal cruelty matter and his failure to adhere to animal movement regulations while he also showed no insight as he sentenced him to five months in jail and banned him for life from keeping cattle.
Mr Rearden told the court how he and Dept of Agriculture colleagues inspected Casey’s rented farm near Killorglin and found the three-legged animal in considerable pain and distress and together with fellow vets, John McConville and Peter Byrne, he decided the cow should be euthanised.
Mr Casey objected so they called a local independent vet, Owen Mangan who agreed with them that the animal was in such pain and in such poor condition with no hope of recovery that the only option was for the animal to be euthanised which they proceeded to do despite Casey’s protests.
Mr Rearden also testified that he got a very strong smell of putrefaction almost 30 metres from a trailer and when he approached it, he found the carcass of a cow and when he asked Casey how long the animal had been dead, Casey replied that it had been there “for a strong week”.
He said that he also noted that 18 animals that had been tested in Casey’s herd in November 2018 had disappeared and Casey declined to make their cattle passports and herd numbers available while there was also no record of moving the animals in Casey’s herd register as was required.
Judge Waters said that while the case of animal cruelty involving the Aberdeen Angus was indeed the most shocking aspect of the case, the failure by Casey to keep proper records of his herd movements was probably more damaging as it affected the reputation of the Irish beef industry.
He said the Irish beef industry enjoyed an excellent reputation internationally and that was down to proper regulation and traceability, but Mr Casey had shown contempt for his fellow farmers and all in the beef sector by failing to keep records of his animals so that reputation could be protected.
Prosecution barrister, Tom Rice BL told Judge Waters that the maximum sentence for the animal cruelty was six months and that it was also open to him under animal welfare regulations to disqualify Casey from keeping or controlling cattle for life.
Following the Judge’s decision to sentence him to jail and ban him from keeping cattle, Mr Casey’s solicitor, Padraig O’Connell said that his client rejected Judge Waters’ decision to find him guilty of the ten offences and while he had not attended the original hearing due to a mix up over dates, he would be appealing all convictions and fully contesting the charges at the appeal court.