Woman claims Department took animals unlawfully

A woman claimed at Dundalk District Court last week that animals have been stolen from her farm in north Louth by the Department of Agriculture.

Donna Sfar with an address at Oaklawns, Dundalk applied to the court for a stay on an Animal Health and Welfare notice that had been served against her in relation to animals at Balriggan, Kilcurry.

When the application was called at the vacation sitting of the court last Thursday, Judge William Hamill noted that the notice had been served on Ms. Sfar and she has appealed it.

The applicant told the court that she had served notice of this on an authorised officer of the Department of Agriculture by registered post two days before but when Judge Hamill told her she has to wait 10 days for a response, she replied that it’s an emergency situation.

She claimed that all her animals were stolen at the weekend and it was only after she had contacted the gardai, that it was established the Department of Agriculture had taken them.

She added they didn’t give her any official notice of the seizure and alleged that they’ve admitted killing one of them already.

Judge Hamill noted that there is a High Court order in place, which stipulates that no animals can be removed without the authorisation of the courts and he said if that had been breached, she should contact the court office in Dublin.

Ms. Sfar told the court that she was worried about the safety of the animals, however, Judge Hamill told her “I can’t put a stay on something that has happened”.

The applicant claimed that the official in question was under the impression that because he had a warrant card he did not need the authorisation of the courts.

Ms. Sfar said she was looking for a stay on the welfare notice and Judge Hamill said he would adjourn the case for a week.


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