A Raphoe farmer who was forced to put down two calves after his herd appeared to be malnourished has been found not guilty of cruelty to animals.
Ivor Russell appeared at Letterkenny District Court charged with the incident at Manorcunningham on October 19th, 2012.
Gardai received an anonymous tip-off that cows at Mr Russell’s farm had not been fed and were in a poor state.
Garda Denise Cassidy said when they arrived they witnessed a number of cattle who looked unwell and unfed.
Three of the 15 calves in the field could not get up and twi of them looked particularly bad.
Another 28 calves in the back of the field also appeared to be malnourished, said Garda Cassidy.
She said there was no sign of any fee and the field look bare.
She contacted the Donegal Animal Hospital and two vets, Gerard Roarty and Aimee Martin, arrived a short time later.
Mr Roarty said it was dark when he arrived and he had to use a flashlight to examine the herd.
He was forced to utinise two of the calves.
Garda Cassidy got the tag numbers of the calves, contacted the Department of Agriculture and found the owner was Ivor Russell of Braehead, Raphoe.
When interviewed by Gardai, Mr Russell said he had fed the animals two hours before Gardai arrived and that the calves were suffering from pneumonia.
He told Gardai that he had injected some of the calves for pneumonia and said he thought it was unfair that Gardai didn’t look at the calves in daylight.
He also added that he agreed there was not a lot of grass in the field but the animals were fed hay and they also got meal twice a day.
When cross-examined Dr Roarty said he could not say without a post mortem how the animals died.
He also added that pneumonia was a common form of death amongst bull calves.
Solicitor Donagh Cleary said he was looking for a direction in the case because it had not been proven that the calves died from malnourishment.
Judge Paul Kelly agreed and said that in a criminal case, the case had to be proven beyond all reasonable doubt.
He added that there was no evidence before the court that malnutrition was the cause of death of the calves.
He dismissed the charge against Mr Russell.