Abducted ewe had to be put down
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
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
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