Northern Ireland

Men jailed for cruelty against horses in one of 'worst cases encountered'

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Media captionRobert and Conor McAleenan admitted 16 charges of animal cruelty

A father and son have been jailed for animal cruelty offences in what the judge called "one of the worst" he had ever encountered.

Conor McAleenan, 28, was sentenced to 14 months and Robert, 55, for nine months.

The two men of Lisnevenagh Road, Antrim, will serve half the sentence in custody and half on licence.

Police said they found a "scene of horror" with decomposing dead horses and ponies lying among the living.

Sixty-three animals were seized. Nine were dead or had to be put down. They were found living in filthy conditions.

Image caption Some of the ponies are recovering after being rescued

Conor McAleenan, who owned the horses, had not treated them medically because he feared that would mean he could not sell them into the human food chain.

Both men were banned from keeping animals for 25 years.

Commenting on the sentences, Ch Insp Natalie Wilson said: "Animal cruelty will not be tolerated, and this case proves that when we find someone has subjected an animal or animals to cruelty we will work with our partner agencies to help ensure the culprit faces the consequences of their actions."

Aubrey Murray, regional prosecutor for the Public Prosecution Service, said: "This was a shocking case of animal cruelty which involved what must be amongst the worst living conditions possible for any animal.

"The PPS robustly prosecuted this case and it is our hope that the sentences handed down by the crown court will act as a powerful deterrent to others."

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