Norman Lee of Laurelgrove Crescent, Castlereagh appeared in Newtownards Magistrates Court in September and again on November 20 on a number of animal welfare charges brought by Lisburn & Castlereagh City Council.
The Council’s Animal Welfare Service responded to a report from a member of the public on February 12, 2015 that two dogs were at a property at Laurelgrove Crescent, alone, and that their owner was on holiday.
The report stated that the dogs were not being fed or walked.
For the following two days an officer visited the property, left notices and sealed the entrances to the property to ascertain if anyone was in fact going in and out of the property. On continual inspection it was established that no entry had been made.
On February 16 the owner of the dogs, Norman Lee, telephoned the Animal Welfare Service from abroad to state that the dogs in question were in fact being looked after by a third party. He was however unable to provide any satisfactory evidence to support this claim, and, given the plight of the dogs, the Council refused to return the animals.
Some six months later the Animal Welfare Service was advised Lee had returned to Northern Ireland. The Animal Welfare Service returned to Laurelgrove Crescent once again, and spoke to Lee and provided him with the opportunity to sign the dogs over to Lisburn & Castlereagh City Council. Mr Lee refused to do so. In early September the Council then applied to the Court for a Disposal Order to allow the dogs to be rehomed by the Council.
Mr Lee contested the Disposal Order but on September 14 the Court found in favour of Lisburn & Castlereagh City Council and costs of £4382.87 and £200 were awarded to the Council. Both dogs have since been rehomed by Assisi Animal Sanctuary and Lee was given a three month suspended prison sentence and was banned from owning animals.