The Animal Health and Welfare Act 2013 provides a modern framework for applying standards in the area of animal health and welfare and replaced a number of enactments dating back over a century. The Act was passed, after lengthy and constructive debate in both Houses of the Oireachtas and came into operation on 6 March 2014.
Offences under the Act may be prosecuted in the District Court by the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, local authorities and members of An Garda Síochána. Matters tried on indictment are the remit of the Director of Public Prosecutions in the normal manner. Accordingly, the statistics set down in this answer relate to cases prosecuted at the suit of the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine.
Prosecutions under the Act have been pursued following investigations by authorised officers of my Department, An Garda Síochána and authorised officers of the Irish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and the Dublin Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. These officers investigate matters relating to animal cruelty and neglect and, where the evidence supports such action, a file is prepared and the matter pursued through the Courts..
Since the Animal Health and Welfare Act 2013 came into operation in March 2014, 83 individuals have been successfully prosecuted. Fines in excess of €50,000 have been imposed. Six persons have been sentenced to a term of imprisonment which were suspended in 4 cases. The Probation Act was applied in 6 instances.
Eleven persons have been disqualified from keeping animals under section 58 of the Act.
Summonses have issued in 29 cases which remain before the Courts. A further six files have been sent to the Chief State Solicitor with a view to institute proceedings and a further five files are currently being examined in my Department with a view to pursuing a prosecution if the evidence so warrants.