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First ever prosecution planned in Ireland over guinea pig, goldfish neglect

One guinea pig was found dead, while four others appeared malnourished and 'absolutely terrified'. And the goldfish was not even visible in a bowl of half-evaporated 'filthy, dirty' water.

BRIAN HUTTON: ‘Ireland’s largest animal welfare organisation is preparing for what it says would be the first case of a prosecution of a pet-owner for allegedly abandoning guinea pigs and a goldfish. The Irish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ISPCA) was called to a rented apartment in central Cork last Thursday by the lettings agent after the discovery of the six pets which were on their own. One guinea pig was found already dead in the flat, while four others appeared malnourished and “absolutely terrified”. And the goldfish was not initially visible in a bowl of half-evaporated “filthy, dirty” water, said ISPCA senior inspector Lisa O’Donovan…

A file was being prepared for the Department of Agriculture, including photographic evidence and veterinary reports while efforts were underway to track down the pet-owner to be interviewed under caution. It is not known if they are on holiday or have temporarily or permanently left the apartment, she said, adding that the pets may have been on their own for a week or more. Once the file is completed, the Department of Agriculture will decide if it is to be sent forward for prosecution…

Under the Animal Health and Welfare Act, ISPCA inspectors were designated as “authorised officers” five years ago, and handed powers similar to the gardaí for investigating suspected animal cruelty. This includes the power to interview suspects under caution and take prosecutions, which on conviction can carry a maximum fine of €250,000 or a prison sentence of up to five years’. SOURCE…

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