The USPCA and members of the public have slammed the sentence given to a man who starved his dog to death in Maghera.
Robert Porter, 30, admitted he had not fed his husky, Prince, for a number of weeks before it died on his kitchen floor.
Porter, who now lives in Belfast, pleaded guilty to causing unnecessary suffering and failing to ensure the welfare of his dog.
He also admitted that the animal’s carcass had lain in the kitchen for four months after its death.
Porter was ordered to serve 80 hours community service, was given 12 months probation, disqualified from keeping any animal for five years and must pay legal and court costs of £266.
But his case came before Magherafelt Court just a week after DARD and DOJ joined forces to promise tougher sentences for those convicted of animal cruelty offences, and the public has reacted angrily.
Members of the public have called for him to be ‘locked up’ as well as hitting out at the justice system for being ‘too lenient’.
A spokesperson for the USPCA also said: “The punishment handed down in this case does not reflect the severity of the offence.
“There is no excuse for allowing a companion animal to suffer a prolonged and agonising death.
“Any pet owner in genuine need can be receive pet food through a partnership arrangement the USPCA has with the Trussel Trust foodbank network.”
A spokesperson for Mid Ulster Council, which was also involved in the case, said: “Thankfully, cases like the recent prosecution where an animal died, are rare. We would encourage anyone who is perhaps finding it difficult to manage the care of a pet to contact us or their local vet.”