Northern Ireland news

Bangor optometrist fined for not treating pet dog's tumour

James Lane entered guilty pleas for offences including causing unnecessary suffering to a black Labrador

AN OPTOMETRIST was today fined £5,000 for failing to act when his 14-year-old Labrador developed a painful tumour.

James Lane, of Groomsport Road, Bangor, was also ordered to pay vet fees and the council's court costs totalling £667.

District Judge Mark Hamill refused the council's application to disqualify him from keeping other animals, but warned that "if this happens again the question of custody will arise".

A defence solicitor entered guilty pleas on Lane's behalf to offences of causing unnecessary suffering to the dog, and failing to take reasonable steps to meet the dog's needs on a date unknown on or before April 21 2016.

Following the guilty pleas, a lawyer for Ards and North Down council withdrew the same charges against his wife Carol Lane.

Newtownards Magistrates Court heard an enforcement officer was contacted by a concerned member of the public about a stray dog.

The dog, a 14-year-old black Labrador called Tess, was found to have a large growth on her neck, a second smaller lump and "ribs and spine clearly showing".

Lane (age unknown) was spoken to and confirmed the family had owned Tess, and the tumour had been there for about a month.

He signed Tess over voluntarily and she was put to sleep.

A defence solicitor said Tess had belonged to Lane's daughter who had been sitting her A-levels and he did not want to upset her.

"He has been very contrite and in reflection, he should have euthanised the dog at an earlier stage," the solicitor said.

He said Tess had been treated at the vet's before, and there were "absolutely no concerns" another pet dog at the house.

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