The ISPCA 2015 Inspectorate Report said that more than 15,000 calls were made to the National Animal Cruelty Helpline resulting in 3,000 investigations and 35 prosecutions instigated under the Animal Health and Welfare Act last year.
“The report highlights the work of the ISPCA’s team of trained, professional inspectors and focuses on ISPCA-initiated prosecutions finalised in the courts in 2015,” ISPCA chief inspector Conor Dowling said.
“While our officers find a solution to most problems by working with animal owners, when serious instances of cruelty, neglect or abuse are uncovered we feel that those responsible should be held accountable in the courts.”
Mr Dowling said that prosecutions were instigated under the Animal Health and Welfare Act which came into force in March 2014.
“This legislation was a huge step forward for animal welfare in Ireland,” he wrote in the report.
“Not only does it demand higher standards of animal welfare and places a duty of care on animal owners, it also means the ISPCA is now uniquely placed to investigate allegations of cruelty to domestic animals and inspectors can report their findings directly to the Department of Agriculture as a prosecuting body,” he said.
The ISCPA report outlines case studies highlighting examples of some of the incidents encountered by ISPCA in 2015.
One example referred to the conviction of a male in his 50s in a Cork District Court last year, following a multi-agency investigation involving the ISPCA and Cork County Council.
That was after 23 dogs were found living in squalid conditions at a property in Cork, all of which were in varying degrees of neglect.
“They were forced to live in filthy cramped conditions with copious amounts of faeces and urine,” the report read.
“Some dogs were found hidden in a cattle trailer some distance away from the dwelling. One of the dogs presented with 95% hair loss and its skin was thickened and crusted as a result of long-term lack of care.
“The water that was present was filthy and contaminated. All dogs were un-socialised and, even under sedation, showed signs of aggression.
“Judge Brian Sheridan was appalled by the evidence presented to him and stated it was one of the worst cases of animal cruelty he has seen in his career.”
The man involved was convicted, with sentencing adjourned pending further inspections.
The ISPCA has a total of eight authorised Inspectors — one chief and seven Inspectors — who cover 17 counties and work with 19 affiliated member societies nationwide.
The ISPCA operates two rescue and rehabilitation centres which were developed in order to support the ISPCA Inspectorate and member societies with the rescue, rehabilitation, and responsible rehoming of cruelly treated and neglected animals.