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Owner of dog pound fined for having death drug made €80k settlement with Revenue

Stone (65) had been running Ashton Dog Pound in Dublin since 1996

David Stone, the pound owner, with an address at Hazelbrook, Loughlinstown, Ratoath, Co. Meath — © Paddy Cummins - IrishPhotodesk.

Ashton dog pound

Patrick O'ConnellSunday World

Dog pound owner David Stone retained a €272,000 contract with Dublin City Council up until 2022 – four years after a Revenue audit found he had under-declared his income.

Stone – who was fined €30,000 in recent weeks for allowing a euthanasia drug to be kept unlawfully at Ashton Dog Pound – made a settlement of in excess of €83,000 with Revenue in 2018.

Records show that the settlement entered into by Stone included unpaid taxes of €58,290, interest of €8,118 and a further €17,487 in penalties.

Stone (65) had been running Ashton Dog Pound in Dublin since 1996 and had contracts with local councils including Dublin City, Fingal, South Dublin and Dún Laoghaire/Rathdown County Councils.

Dublin Circuit Criminal Court heard last week that gardaí were contacted by a dog warden over the weekend of July 24th, 2020, to alert them to the fact that two dogs, a Bichon Frise and an Akita, had been administered the euthanasia drug Pentobarbital, and the dogs had not been visited by a vet.

The dog warden was concerned for the animals as they were in a bad state.

Gardaí called to the pound and Stone was there when they arrived.

By that point, one of the dogs had died and the second dog was very unwell.

The gardaí took this animal to the UCD veterinary clinic, where it was put down in a more humane way, the court heard.

Garda McQuillan said that on arrival at the pound, gardaí found the drug in a unlocked tin box. She said there was a full bottle of the drug and a small amount in a second bottle, totalling over 350ml.

The garda said 5ml of the drug was enough to kill a dog and if a small amount of the drug came into contact with human skin it could have fatal consequences.

Various statements were taken from staff at the pound, who outlined that the drugs were kept in an unlocked box at the receptionist desk.

The drugs were commonly administered orally to animals by putting it in their food.

Other statements suggested that it was the practice that the drug be placed in the animal’s food to sedate it before the vet would visit and properly administer the drug intravenously to put the dog down.

Garda McQuillan told the court the drug was a veterinary-only prescription drug that must be administered intravenously by a vet.

She said the contracts Stone had entered into with the various county councils to provide the service included the provision of animals being put down, but it specifically stated that the drug must be administered correctly by a registered veterinary practitioner.

Stone, of Hazelbrook, Loughlinstown, Ratoath, Co Meath, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to using a premises for supply of an animal remedy contrary to various European regulations, possession of an animal remedy designated “veterinary practitioner only”, and causing or permitting the administration of an animal remedy contrary to the same regulations, on July 24th, 2020.

Ashton dog pound

Garda McQuillan said Stone had been contracted by Dublin City Council, and the contract was worth €277,000.

This contract ended in March last year and although he went for re-tender, this was not successful.

Mr Carroll told the court the maximum penalty for the offence was a three-year prison term and €500,000 fine.

Judge Nolan said a very lethal substance had been held where it should not have been and it was being administered by untrained staff when it should have been administered by a vet.

“It can be very dangerous to humans as well as animals – even a small amount can cause serious damage,” Judge Nolan said.

He said Stone had been paid substantially to care for these animals and he had breached this contract.

He said he believed a custodial sentence was not warranted, considering his previous good work record, lack of previous convictions and co-operation with the Garda investigation.

Judge Nolan said it was a serious matter to have this substance on the premises without the necessary controls before he fined Stone €30,000.

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