Court orders death of hero fireman's dog
THE pet dog of a firefighter who died in the line of duty was sentenced to death yesterday for injuring a blind woman.
Rocky, a mongrel terrier, was ordered to be destroyed by a judge yesterday after he was found to have caused the woman to fall down and break her thumb.
The eight-year-old dog is owned by the family of the late Brian Murray, one of two firemen who died fighting a blaze at a derelict building in Bray, Co Wicklow in September 2007.
The court heard that Rocky bolted out of the family's home on Vale Road in Arklow, Co Wickow, and on to the road where Dorothy Scanlon was walking with her guide dog on March 23 last.
Spooked by Rocky's aggressive stance, the guide dog became frightened, which caused Ms Scanlon to fall and break a thumb, the court heard.
Garda David Robinson had brought an application before Arklow District Court, alleging the dog was dangerous and was not being kept under due control by its owner.
Citing the local dog warden, he said there had been several complaints received about the dog in the past.
Ms Scanlon, who wept as she gave testimony at an initial hearing last week, said she had had ongoing problems with Rocky and had made several complaints to the dog warden and gardai.
Judge Murrough Connellan had adjourned the case from last week in order to allow Mr Murray's widow, Mary, to find a home for the dog outside the county.
But he went ahead with the destruction order yesterday when she failed to appear in court for the hearing.
He then handed the dog over to the local dog warden to be put down.
Mrs Murray, who arrived at the courthouse after the case was heard, said she was disappointed by the verdict but said that there was little she could do to stop him from being put down.
She told the court last week that she now kept the gates to her yard locked, adding: "The kids would be heartbroken if the dog had to be put down."