The first successful prosecution under the Animal Health and Welfare Act took place when a Donegal woman pleaded guilty to abandoning her dog with no food or water.

Irish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals inspector Kevin McGinley responded to a call on March 12, 2014 following reports that a dog had been abandoned in a rented property in Letterkenny, Co. Donegal.

McGinley visited the property, and although he could hear a dog inside the house he could not see one. He left a note asking the occupant to contact him.

McGinley became increasingly concerned when there was no response to the note. He returned to the property on March 14 and contacted the Gardai (police) for assistance.

A small female terrier dog was discovered living in the kitchen area, which was heavily contaminated with dog feces and urine. The dog’s owner Natalie McGranaghan was traced to her mother’s home and she claimed initially that the dog called Megan had been sold. She later admitted she hadn’t, but claimed she had fed the dog two days earlier.

A bucket filled with water had been left beside the dog, but she was unable to drink from it as it was too tall for her to reach.

The accused did not appear in court but pleaded guilty through her solicitor Kieran O’Gorman.

Sentencing was adjourned until July 16 and costs of €405 were awarded.

Judge Paul Kelly said, “Looking at these pictures, this was an appalling thing to do to an unfortunate defenseless animal.”

Inspector Kevin McGinley said, “The dog was clearly in a poor state before being seized and we were pleased to be able to help before her health deteriorated further. Megan made a full recovery and has since been re-homed.

“This case clearly demonstrates how the new Animal Health and Welfare Act can work in practice to help a defenseless dog like Megan.”