A Kilkenny farmer has been jailed for 23 months and banned from keeping animals for life following Ireland’s worst equine welfare case.

Simon O’Dwyer appeared before Kilkenny District Court yesterday (16 February).

He had pleaded guilty to four counts of cruelty to animals and three counts of failing to dispose of carcasses, which took place between January and December 2009.

In December 2009 41 horses were removed from his land in Mullinavat, Co Kilkenny by the Department of Agriculture.

They were due to be slaughtered but were taken in by the Irish Horse Welfare Trust and are currently being rehomed.

Garda Shane Elliffe found seven dead animals, five horses and two cows, on land owned by the defendant during an inspection in January 2009.

And in March a severely lame horse was removed.

Mr O’Dwyer is already serving a jail sentence imposed for related offences by a court in Co Tipperary.

Gardai have said there are further charges pending against Mr O’Dwyer.

Speaking outside the court the chairman of the Irish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals told the Irish Times the O’Dwyer family farm has been like a “concentration camp” for horses.

She said the case was worst in her 42 years with the charity.

  • More on this story in next week’s H&H (25 February)