Horse-trainer jailed for role in illegal dog fight

A KILDARE-based horse-trainer and car-dealer has become the first man in the history of the State to be jailed for his role in an illegal dog fight.

Troy Jordan (35) of Blackthorn Cottage, River Road, Allenwood South, Kildare was yesterday given an 18-month prison sentence by Naas Circuit Criminal Court after being found guilty of ill-treating two animals during a dog fight.

Four other men who were found guilty of the same offence under the Cruelty to Animals Act 1911 all received suspended terms of imprisonment.

They are Richard Somerville (34), Dunard Drive, Navan Rd, Cabra; Karl Breen (25), Nangor Crescent, Clondalkin; Thomas Codd (39), Cloonmore Crescent, Tallaght, all Dublin and David Deegan (32), originally from Tallaght but with an address at Geashill, Co Offaly.

During a four-day trial earlier this month, five other men had the same charge against them withdrawn due to the lack of evidence and another man was found not guilty of the offence.

Welcoming yesterday’s imprisonment of Jordan, the Irish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals said it would send out a clear message that the practice of dog fighting was unacceptable.

“People involved in such cruelty will learn that they will face a stiff sentence and penalties,” said ISPCA official, Conor Dowling.

Judge Patrick McCartan directed that fines totalling €11,500 imposed on the five convicted men should be donated to the ISPCA.

The court heard that all five men had been found near the scene of an illegal dogfight which was raided by gardaí at Brockagh, Robertstown, Co Kildare on October 31, 2003. Two pit bull terries were also found at the scene with serious laceration and cuts.

Sentencing the accused, Judge McCartan said the five’s men’s presence at the remote location of the dog fight was “not an act of innocence.”

He described the offence as “mean and nasty” where innocent animals were trained to tear each other to death.

“It is as cruel an act as a person can visit on an innocent animal,” remarked the judge.

The judge said it was incumbent on the court in fixing a sentence to deter other people from engaging in such “very brutal and utterly inappropriate” conduct.

The court heard that Jordan, who comes originally from Tallaght, has four previous convictions, including one for cruelty to animals.

Deegan, a car dealer, was given a prison sentence of 18 months, suspended for two years provide he maintained good behaviour and did not take part in any other dog fight in future. He was also fined €3,000. Somerville, a painter and former soldier was given the same sentence and fine.

Breen, a steel fitter, and Codd, who suffers from a serious medical condition, each received suspended sentences of nine months.

The judge said he recognised their gesture of offering donations of €5,000 and €500 respectively to the court and ordered that the money be passed to the ISPCA.

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