US set­ting up an­i­mal abuse squad af­ter Ty­rone man’s pet tor­ture case

Belfast Telegraph - - NEWS - BY CLAIRE McNEILLY

A TEAM of prose­cu­tors is be­ing set up in New York to deal with an­i­mal abusers af­ter a case in which an Omagh man al­legedly sub­jected his flat­mate’s cat to a litany of tor­ture.

De­clan Gar­rity (25) left the United States shortly af­ter be­ing charged with an­i­mal cru­elty at New York’s supreme court last year.

He is ac­cused of rip­ping out the cat’s claws, break­ing bones in its face, pelvis and legs and burn­ing it dur­ing a three-month pe­riod.

The fi­nan­cial an­a­lyst was sacked from his job in the New York head­quar­ters of Bar­clays Bank af­ter the sick­en­ing de­tails of what the cat was sub­jected to were pub­lished in the city’s three daily news­pa­pers.

Gar­rity’s high-pro­file case is one of a num­ber cited as the rea­son for the es­tab­lish­ment of the Big Ap­ple’s new task force and the Co Ty­rone man will be re-ar­rested and tried for an­i­mal cru­elty should he at­tempt to re-en-

Ac­cused: De­clan Gar­rity

ter the US. He was due to at­tend court in April last year to be ar­raigned on charges that he re­peat­edly abused Lucy, an 8lb pet, in an apart­ment on Man­hat­tan’s Up­per East Side. Gar­rity was also fac­ing a charge of vi­o­lat­ing a pro­tec­tive order by re­turn­ing to the apart­ment to re­trieve his be­long­ings with­out a po­lice es­cort.

His non-ap­pear­ance led to the judge re­vok­ing his $6,000 (£4,578) bail and is­su­ing an ar­rest war­rant.

At the time, the Co Ty­rone man’s lawyer told the court that Gar­rity had re­turned to North­ern Ire­land af­ter be­ing in­formed he risked ar­rest for im­mi­gra­tion vi­o­la­tions if he re­mained in the US.

It’s un­der­stood that his for­mer em­ploy­ers paid for Gar­rity’s flight back to Belfast, with his work visa about to be in­val­i­dated due to his dis­missal.

How­ever, he would have been al­lowed to stay in New York be­cause he was fac­ing crim­i­nal charges which can carry sen­tences of up to four years in jail.

Gar­rity was first ar­rested in Fe­bru­ary 2016 af­ter his fe­male flat­mate took Lucy to a lo­cal vet.

He di­ag­nosed two right leg frac­tures, a frac­ture of the left pelvis, burns on sev­eral parts of the body, bro­ken claws and bro­ken teeth.

This re­sulted in the an­i­mal hav­ing to be fed through a tube.

Gar­rity, a Queen’s Univer­sity grad­u­ate, who had been work­ing in Amer­ica since 2014, claimed the in­juries were a re­sult of an iron fall­ing on the an­i­mal.

A fundrais­ing page set up for Lucy at­tracted $14,000 in do­na­tions from out­raged an­i­mal lovers, and the fe­line has since made a full re­cov­ery. Gar­rity had no com­ment to make when our sis­ter pa­per Sun­day Life tracked him down to his par­ents’ ru­ral home out­side Omagh last year.

The new an­i­mal pro­tec­tion squad will in­ves­ti­gate cases re­ferred to them by the Amer­i­can So­ci­ety for the Pre­ven­tion of Cru­elty to An­i­mals (AS­PCA) and the NYPD’s An­i­mal Cru­elty In­ves­ti­ga­tion Squad.

New York district at­tor­ney Cy Vance Jr said: “For many years, as­sis­tant district at­tor­neys from dif­fer­ent ar­eas of my of­fice have strongly in­ves­ti­gated and pros­e­cuted cases of an­i­mal abuse and cru­elty.

“This for­malised pro­gram stream­lines our work and en­sures that each case is over­seen by an ex­pert in the field.”

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