Woman wants her dogs back

A woman who is seeking the return of 18 dogs that were seized six years ago in an animal cruelty case, has had her case adjourned at Dundalk District Court.

A woman who is seeking the return of 18 dogs that were seized six years ago in an animal cruelty case, has had her case adjourned at Dundalk District Court.

The court was told that all of the dogs involved have since died but Donna Sfar of Oaklawns, Dundalk said she does not believe that to be the case.

Donna Sfar was fined €4,000 and was banned from keeping animals for ten years, following an animal cruelty prosecution in March 2008.

She subsequently challenged the court order and was successful in bringing a Supreme Court action which found that the wording on the court order was incorrect and the ban should have specifically related to dogs not animals.

Garda Inspector Martin Beggy told a Police Property Application hearing last Thursday that the dogs in question were either put down for medical reasons or died of natural causes and added “We can’t return something that we don’t have”.

Investigating Garda Barbara Bracken said the dogs were seized during the course of three visits to Ms. Sfar’s property in Kilcurry in 2007 and they had been in the care of the LSPCA who had fostered them out.

Ms. Sfar said the dogs were young and questioned how they could have died so quickly and added that she’d like to know where every dog went.

She also highlighted a report from her vet which said that the dogs he examined were healthy. Garda Bracken pointed out that the dogs referred were the first five dogs that were seized and the inspection was carried out when they had been in the care of the L.S.P.C.A for 23 days.

Garda Bracken told the court it was an animal cruelty case and due to the conditions of the dogs and the conditions they were kept in they had a shorter life expectancy. She added that some would be 14 by now and she would liaise with the LSPCA in relation to where the dogs went. However, Judge Hamill agreed when Inspector Beggy objected to the names of those who fostered the pets, being supplied.

He adjourned the matter until the 8th of August and said he would draw up a letter to say the Gardai had confirmed the animals were in their possession, had been boarded by the LSPCA and had since died - in the event that Ms. Sfar wants to seek compensation from the State Claims Agency.