Donegal farmer banned from keeping animals following "horrendous” and “disturbing" animal cruelty convictions 1 year ago

Donegal farmer banned from keeping animals following "horrendous” and “disturbing" animal cruelty convictions

The man had a previous conviction for cruelty to horses and donkeys on his property.

Warning: Readers may find the content of this article upsetting.


A Donegal farmer has been jailed for four months with the sentences suspended for 12 months and banned for ten years from keeping animals following a number of animal cruelty offences.

Leslie Stewart, 74, of The Thorn in Letterkenny, was convicted in Letterkenny District Court on Monday (26 September).

Stewart had previously received a two year disqualification from keeping animals and a suspended jail sentence in 2016 for cruelty to horses and donkeys discovered on his property.

Stewart pled guilty pleas to 16 of 30 charges at a previous court sitting on 6 September


The case came following several inspections of Stewart's farm by inspectors from the ISPCA and officials from the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine.

The offences related to dogs being kept in a van without water, allowing the carcass of a sheep to remain unburied, and keeping pigs and poultry in trailers without adequate access to water.

Three collie type dogs were removed from a locked van and were subsequently rehomed.


Judge Éiteáin Cunningham described the case as “horrendous” and “disturbing.”

Stewart was fined a total of €1,500 and was also banned from keeping animals for ten years.

Judge Cunningham noted that the accused had clearly “not learned” from the experience of his previous two year ban.

“This has been a prolonged and challenging case involving a persistent offender," said ISPCA Senior Inspector Kevin McGinley.


"The ISPCA would like to thank the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine for prosecuting this case and also DAFM veterinary and technical staff, along with An Garda Síochána, for their assistance which ultimately led to a successful prosecution and conviction in this case”.

If you have any animal welfare concerns, the ISPCA encourages the public to report them to the National Animal Cruelty Helpline in confidence on 0818 515 515, to email or report online here.

Featured Image: ISPCA