Thursday 24 August 2017

Hero warden vows to work on after 'sickening' road assault

Pat Flynn and Gordon Deegan

A DOG warden who was viciously attacked and beaten while driving to the aid of an injured animal has vowed to continue in his job.

Frank Coote, the ISPCA Dog Warden in Co Clare, was the victim of what he called a "senseless attack" during the course of his work.

The Ennis man was driven off the road last Thursday and dragged out of his van by a lone man in his late 30s and assaulted.

Hospitalised

Mr Coote was hospitalised from the injuries.

He suffered bad bruising as a result of being headbutted, and was then stabbed with his own van keys before being punched.

It happened close to the Rocky Road roundabout on the busy N85 link road to the M18 motorway on the outskirts of Ennis.

The assailant dramatically overtook and pulled across Mr Coote's van before stopping in the middle of the road.

The man got out of his vehicle and approached Mr Coote's van and brutally attacked him.

As Mr Coote attempted to crawl over to the passenger side of his van, his attacker climbed into the vehicle and used Mr Coote's own keys to stab him several times in the body.

Mr Coote -- who has a weekly animal welfare slot on Clare FM -- said: "I didn't know what was going on.

"I had no chance.

"A white van drove me off the road and a man got out, came back to my van, opened the door, hit me and took the keys out.

"In this job we take some abuse from the public and people do try to obstruct you but you never expect this to happen to you.

"The man claimed I took a dog from him one time but I never took a dog from him.

"The same man had threatened to kill me before about the same dog -- but I never took any dog from him."

Mr Coote was back at work Christmas morning braving sub-zero temperatures to make sure that horses in distress were fed and watered.

He said: "The horses were in dire straits. They needed looking after."

Statement

Mr Coote has already made a full statement about last Thursday's incident to gardai and that matter is now being investigated.

A garda spokesman described the incident as "sickening" and "deplorable".

He said that the attack is being treated "very seriously" by gardai.

He said: "Effectively, a public official was forced to stop his van by another vehicle and was beaten firstly, and then pulled out on to the road and belted again."

Irish Independent

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