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Abducted ewe had to be put down 24.03.10

by Linda McGrory

A SHEEP that was stolen from a field and stuffed into the boot of a car for a terrifying 15km road trip later had to be put down by a vet, Buncrana court heard yesterday.
Mark Fair, 20, and Shaun McLaughlin, 19, from Buncrana, were each sentenced to two months' detention after pleading guilty to the cruel treatment of a horned ewe on April 29, 2009.
The court heard the two were among a group of nine who hatched a plan while out drinking to steal a sheep and set it loose on the streets of Buncrana in the early hours.
A third man, who was the driver and worst aggressor on the night, has fled the jurisdiction, the court was told.
The 15km journey from Leenan to Buncrana included the notoriously steep Mamore Gap where the driver performed "burn-outs" and other stunts to create smoke from the tyres under the boot.
Garda Caroline Greenan told Buncrana District Court the stunts resulted in the turbo blowing out in the car. She said this angered the driver and he proceeded to the trunk where he kicked the sheep with his heavy boots and repeatedly smashed the boot on top of the sheep's legs.
The court heard that the "convoy" of three cars drove on to Buncrana where the traumatised animal was let out on the green of Crana View housing estate before wandering into a nearby garden. Judge Seamus Hughes was told that Fair, from Ballinahone, Fahan and McLaughlin, Ballinarry, Buncrana, then dragged the animal out of the garden by its horns.
When Gardai arrived, the animal was lying in the roadway, injured and unable to move.
Carndonagh vet Anne Scott, who arrived on the scene at 3.45am, yesterday told the court the ewe was lying on its side with "legs paddling". She said the animal was in a state of shock and appeared terrified. She told the court sheep get extremely
The sheep that had to be put down in Buncrana after a terrifying ordeal in April 2009. Photo: The ISPCA.
stressed when chased or separated from their flock. "I took the decision on humane grounds to euthanase the animal," she said. Defence solicitor Frank Dorrian said his clients were not the worst aggressors on the night. He said both had experience of dealing with farm animals at home and that dragging a sheep by its horns was not that unusual for them.
Judge Hughes said he was very troubled by the details of the case. "Somehow, I do not believe I have heard the full story of what happened that night. There is something very evil about two people, who purport to know something about animals, who would treat any animal, not to mind a sheep, like this," said the judge, imposing two month's detention on each defendant.
Speaking after the hearing, Donegal inspector for the Irish Society for the Protection of Cruelty to Animals, Kevin McGinley said: "The ISPCA are happy with the outcome of this case which illustrates that interfering or causing unnecessary suffering to any animal is an offence under the Protection of Animals Act. This case serves to highlight that the judicial system is taking animal welfare cases very seriously."
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