A Co Antrim man initially jailed for effectively abandoning five dogs and leaving them to starve, has walked free from court with a combination order.
Last month, Conor Ward was jailed for six months for what a judge said was a a “truly harrowing” case of animal cruelty.
The 32-year-old appealed that sentence and on Monday, Judge Gerard McNamara granted an appeal and replaced the jail sentence with a combination order of two years on probation and 100 hours of community service.
The judge told Antrim County Court of Appeal while it was a “very distressing case” involving cruelty to “defenceless animals,” he was varying the sentence because Ward’s cruelty was passive rather than active.
At an earlier hearing Ward, from Cranny Avenue in Carnlough, entered guilty pleas to five of seven charges, all committed on November 23 2020 at an address in Glenarm including three counts of causing dogs to suffer unnecessarily and two charges of failing to meet the reasonable needs of the dogs - three Staffordshire bull terriers and an English bull terrier.
While Judge McNamara varied the prison sentence, he affirmed an order banning Ward from keeping, owning or transporting any animal for 20 years.