Calling the Armed Response Unit, a bit over the Top, a Farmer with a Pitchfor; Mayo Gardai, not too Brave, look like Clowns here. Any trained Garda, would, Simply, Talk, and Ease the Tensions? Dogs must be treated, with Care, so does Farmers under Stress and feeling Isolated?

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Armed gardaí called in after farmer wielded pitchfork as ISPCA officials tried to seize his dogs, court hears- 5h ago

An angry farmer wielding a pitchfork objected so strenuously to the seizure of his dogs by the ISPCA that the Garda Armed Response Unit (ARU) had to be called in to disarm him.

The standoff at Ardhoom, Meelick, Swinford, on February 24 last ended with 68-year-old Thomas Golden being tasered, then arrested and brought to Castlebar garda station.

Golden appeared before Judge Eoin Garavan at a sitting of Castlebar Circuit Criminal Court last Friday on a number of assault charges.

Garda Sergeant Maureen Flynn testified that the ISPCA requested garda assistance concerning animals on Golden’s property.

On a previous occasion when they visited the property ISPCA personnel were met with a hostile reception.

Sgt Flynn told prosecuting counsel Patrick Reynolds that, on their arrival, the ISPCA officers attempted to negotiate with Golden so as to get in to assess the animals.

But the defendant would only communicate through a window. He refused to allow access stating there was “nothing wrong” with his dogs. He then closed the window and refused to communicate further.

ISPCA personnel gained entry to the garage and found six dogs inside in a deplorable condition. Drinking water available to the dogs was dirty. One of the dogs escaped.

Sgt Flynn said Golden produced a metal mop handle and then a pitchfork.

He threatened one of the gardaí present, Noel Folan, that he would put the pitchfork through him.

Gardaí pleaded with the defendant to drop the pitchfork but he refused. After being sprayed with incapacitant liquid the defendant walked into his house.

The Armed Support Unit was called and when the defendant refused to come out of the house he was tasered and then arrested.

Defence counsel Brendan McDonagh said the ISPCA, accompanied by gardaí, had turned up without a warrant.

He said Golden did not recall them producing a warrant.

Mr McDonagh spoke of the concerns Golden had about three strangers arriving at his door at 9.15 in the morning.

The animals, he said, were in effect like children to him. He had rescued them from homelessness.

Mr McDonagh described it as “a very sad situation which seemed to have exploded beyond what anybody could have envisaged”.

It was a highly regrettable aberration, he said, and he was instructed to offer an apology to all involved.

Judge Garavan said the accused’s heart was in the right place as regards the animals but authorities were clearly doing their job. They found certain things that were not acceptable to them and Golden, sadly, had to be tasered.

Stating that there would be no benefit in imprisoning Golden, the judge imposed suspended sentences of 18 months on two counts of assault with a third count taken into consideration.

There was no benefit in imprisoning this man, the judge said. The judge imposed suspended jail sentences of 18 months on each of the assault charges with a third count taken into consideration. The sentences will run concurrently.

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