#TheList Paul Sempey, born 14/04/1978, of 221 Queen Street, Ballymena BT42 2BG – abandoned his pet dog to starve to death
Sempey had moved back to the home of his mother Jennifer Sempey, leaving black Staffy Tyson behind.
The charges were brought against Sempey by Mid and East Antrim Borough Council under the Welfare of Animals Act (NI) 2011, following an investigation by Animal Welfare Officers regarding offences in January 2015.
The Borough Warden had attended the property in January to follow up on a non-payment of a dog licence.
Supported by Mid and East Antrim Council’s Animal Welfare Officer, they returned to the property and found Tyson in a garage. The garage door had been open and the officers entered to find the “severely emaciated” dog barely alive, lying on a sofa.
Tyson was unable to get up and when officers approached the dog he was “cold to the touch”.
When the animal welfare officer touched Tyson’s stomach, he winced in pain.
Tyson was taken to a local veterinary practice but had to be put to sleep due to his condition.
Prosecution added that it had been noted that Tyson’s temperature was so cold his “blood was beginning to decompose”.
District Judge Des Perry described it as a “bad, bad case” of animal neglect.
Sempey’s lawyer provided a medical report to the Judge about his client, adding that he (Sempey) had “educational issues”.
“The reason this arose was because he moved back to live with his mother and she did not want him bringing the dog to her house,” Mr Smyth said.
He added: “He had no alternative arrangements. He effectively abandoned the animal.”
Speaking after the case David Wilson from the USPCA said people should receive custodial sentences for such crimes. He added: “This man deserves to have a custodial sentence imposed to give him time to reflect on what happened.
“He allowed the situation to go on, but now he can walk free over Christmas thanks to this suspended sentence.
“The USPCA does welcome the lifetime ban imposed on this man, particularly as it includes any warm-blooded animal.
“However, one of the main issues the USPCA has with these bans is that there is no central register to keep a note of these people who have received bans.
“We have been calling for this register for some time and it is currently under review.”
Sentencing: six months in prison suspended for two years; legal costs of £116. Disqualified for life from the keeping of any ‘warm blooded animal’.