Wednesday 28 September 2016

Man who killed his dog by smashing it off the ground up to 30 times avoids jail

Conor Gallagher and Aoife Nic Ardghail

Published 17/10/2015 | 09:06

Liam Dowling
Liam Dowling

A DUBLIN man who violently killed his sick dog in a park full of children because he claimed he couldn't afford vet bills has been ordered to carry out community service.

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Liam Dowling's case was adjourned in July in Dublin Circuit Criminal Court after Judge Martin Nolan indicated he wouldn't jail him if he was judged suitable for community service.

Yesterday the court heard that the Probation Service had judged him suitable and Judge Nolan imposed 200 hours community service in lieu of a two-year sentence. The judge declined to ban Dowling from keeping dogs in future.

The previous sentence hearing was told that one witness saw Dowling (44) of Fitzgibbon Court, Fitzgibbon Street, swing the Jack Russell dog overhead by its lead and smash it to the ground up to 30 times as he crossed a park near Clonliffe College. Garda Shane Mengessidis said that he was also seen putting his foot on the dog's head while it was on the ground and pulling the lead tight.

Dowling pleaded guilty to killing a protected animal at Clonliffe College on August 19, 2014. He has 12 previous convictions, including a four-and-a-half year sentence for a drugs offence.

Cruel

Judge Nolan commented that "by any standard what happened to this poor dog was incredibly cruel", but noted that Dowling had been on prescription drugs at the time.

He further noted that Dowling cared for a child and was a "contributing member of society", and said he would not impose a ban on Dowling keeping animals, as he didn't want to deprive the man's child of having a dog.

Gda Mengessidis told Cormac Quinn BL, prosecuting, that Dowling walked across the park and every so often swung the animal over his head, until he entered some bushes. Witnesses, including children, subsequently saw Dowling re-emerge with only the dog's lead.

Dowling told gardai at the scene that the dog had run off when he had opened its lead, but later admitted killing the pet.

Gda Mengessidis said a vet with the Dublin Society for Protection of Cruelty to Animals (DSPCA) found the dog had died from repeated blunt force trauma to its body. Dowling claimed the dog, a family pet of nine years, had been sick for up to five months and he couldn't pay for vet bills.

He said he tried to suffocate the pet in fields and denied knowledge of a euthanasia procedure provided by the Irish Blue Cross, saying: "Sorry, I thought I was doing the right thing."

Luigi Rea BL, defending, asked the judge to take into consideration his client's early guilty plea, his co-operation and that he has no history of cruelty to animals.

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