Wednesday, 21 April 2021

Questions (2522)

Pádraig O'Sullivan

Question:

2522. Deputy Pádraig O'Sullivan asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the number of convictions, imprisonments or fines that were issued in 2018, 2019 and 2020 under section 11(1) of the Animal Health and Welfare Act 2013; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [19728/21]

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Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

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.

Prosecutions under the Act have been pursued following investigations by authorised officers of the 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 prepared and the matter pursued through the Courts. Matters tried on indictment are the remit of the Director of Public Prosecutions in the normal manner.

The statistics set down below relate only to cases prosecuted at the suit of the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine.

Since the Animal Health and Welfare Act 2013 came into operation in March 2014, almost 100 cases have been prosecuted through the Courts by DAFM. Fines in excess of €60,000 have been imposed. Seven people have been sentenced to a term of imprisonment; these sentences were suspended in four cases. The Probation Act was applied in eight instances.

Sixteen people have been disqualified from keeping animals under section 58 of the Act.

Twenty five cases remain before the Courts and further files have been sent to the Chief State Solicitor with a view to be instituting proceedings; other files are currently being examined in my Department with a view to pursuing a prosecution if the evidence so warrant.

The major offences for which people have been convicted are, neglect and recklessness regarding the health and welfare of an animal, not taking the necessary steps to protect the health and welfare of an animal or causing unnecessary suffering to an animal in contravention of Sections 11 and 12 of the Act. In addition, there have been convictions for failure to provide adequate food and water to animals in contravention of section 13 of the Act. The information in relation to these cases from 2018 to 2020 is:

-

2018

2019

2020

Imprisonments

1

2

1

Suspended sentence

2

0

4

Fines

20

14

5

Probation Act

1

2

0