Animal cruelty case against brothers dropped

The DPP has dropped an animal cruelty case brought against two English brothers who had been charged over the discovery of 36 puppies in a van in Dublin.

The puppies, aged from three to six weeks, were taken into safety by gardaí and officers from the Dublin Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

The rescue followed searches on Oct 9 on the Old Malahide Rd in Coolock, north Dublin.

The puppies included cocker springer spaniels, terrier, beagle, labrador and Jack Russell breeds.

Two men from Manchester, who were arrested at the scene, were later charged under the Protection of Animals Act but will not stand trial. No explanation was given yesterday at Dublin District Court, where the charges were withdrawn on the instructions of the DPP.

Reuben Burton, 32, and Rico Lee Burton, 21, both from Stone Meadows, Carrington, Manchester, were accused of ill-treating the pups by keeping them in the rear of a van “in cramped conditions with no food or water, no light or fresh air, and had the pups lying in their own faeces causing unnecessary suffering”.

At a hearing at Dublin District Court in February, Judge Patricia McNamara heard it was alleged the puppies were found in their own faeces and showed signs of parasitic disease. In an outline of the prosecution’s evidence, she had also heard that some of the pups’ “hind claws had been amputated” and they had inflammation on their tail stumps.

In February, Judge McNamara said the case was too serious to be dealt with in the district court and should be sent to the Circuit Court, which could impose a maximum two-year sentence and fines of about €13,000.

The pair had been remanded on bail pending the preparation of a book of evidence. Neither men had to come to the hearing yesterday and defence solicitor Tony Collier said they “protest their innocence in relation to this matter”.

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