AN arrest warrant has been issued for a Newtownbutler man facing a raft of dog cruelty charges. 

Nigel Leonard, of Wattlebridge Road, Newtownbutler, failed to appear at Enniskillen Magistrate's Court yesterday (Wednesday, February 14).

Leonard is facing  12 charges of failing to ensure the needs of dogs were met, and a further charge of causing a hound-type dog to suffer unnecessarily. 

Having failed to appear in court, District Judge Kennedy issued a warrant for Leonard's arrest.  

Representing Fermanagh and Omagh District Council, which is prosecuting the case, was barrister Peter Canavan.

Mr. Canavan told the court how on July 15, 2021, animal welfare officers attended a field at the Tirvally Road, Macken, near Enniskillen.

There, they observed dogs living in "tin structures". 

Officers returned on July 20 with the assistance of two PSNI officers, where they experienced an  "overpowering" smell.

In one kennel, six dogs were seen. 

An older "hound-type dog" was observed to have prolapse protruding from its rear, which was "so big that it trailed on the ground".

The kennel door was padlocked, and a temperature of  23C was recorded inside.

In another pen, officers noted a terrier-cross dog and a hound. The area was described as "small", with only "an inch" of water provided for both dogs. The temperature inside was 23C.

Noting the poor condition of all dogs and limited water supplies, officers agreed that the animals should be removed. 

Six dogs were removed from the first pen, with the smell described as "overpowering".

An officer said that they had "never experienced anything like it" in their seven-and-a-half years of service. 

A total of 12 dogs were removed.

The older hound-type dog was examined by a vet on July 21, 2021, and was found to have a prolapse of 5cm. Blood tests also showed early signs of kidney failure. 

Officers concluded that the dogs were being kept in "tin roof huts" during the "hottest fortnight of 2021", without "plentiful drinking water".

Officers noted that as there was no dwelling nearby, the dogs couldn't be adequately monitored. 

On both July 20 and July 23, Leonard contacted the Council and left voicemails confirming that he was the owner of the dogs, the court heard.

Mr. Canavan added that a "disqualification order was the thrust of prosecution", and that the Council "believe that this man should not be responsible for the care of animals".

He added that Leonard currently possessed "around 20 dogs".

Deputy District Judge Kennedy said it would be "unfair" to convict Leonard in his absence, and added that "he should be here".

The judge issued a warrant for his arrest, and adjourned the case for sentencing.