A man from County Tipperary who transported greyhounds in cramped cages from Ireland to England for the racing industry has been given a conditional discharge for three years and ordered to pay £4,000 towards costs by Bristol magistrates.
During a prosecution brought by the RSPCA, Bernard Martin McBride of Ardmayle, Cashal, Eire, this week pleaded guilty to a transit offence in relation to 10 greyhounds under the Welfare of Animals (Transport) Order 1997.
The court heard how, on 10 August 2005, officers from Avon and Somerset Police pulled over a white Mercedes van. When they opened the van doors, they were confronted with three rows of caged dogs, with further rows behind them. The van and dogs were taken to Filton Police Station.
RSPCA inspector Glyn Roberts, who was called to assist, found the dogs in small stacked cages - some of which were just 32.28 inches high. One black and white greyhound had been transported in a collapsible travel cage which was lower in height than the peak of the dog‚s backbone ˆ let alone his head carriage. The RSPCA counsel stated that the Welfare of Animals (Transport) Order requires that animals should be able to stand and lie down appropriately to ensure their welfare during transportation.
McBride said that he had been unaware of the regulations despite being in the racing greyhound industry for 30 years, and transporting dogs for six years from Ireland to ‘north of the M25’.
Magistrates took five factors into account in arriving at their sentence. That McBride transported 10 dogs in cages of insufficient size; his previous good character; his guilty plea; his financial status; and the immediate steps he took to rectify the problem by purchasing new, larger cages.
RSPCA Case Manager Phil Wilson said:”The cruel practice of transporting large numbers of dogs across the Irish sea to fuel the racing greyhound industry has been successfully exposed through this case. It is a trade that the RSPCA has long had grave concerns about.”