Farm Ireland

Monday 17 December 2018

Farmer harboured 8-year grudge over 'blind' ferrets

Gary Dowley with two of the ferrets which he breeds at his home in Carrick on Suir Co Tipperary.
Gary Dowley with two of the ferrets which he breeds at his home in Carrick on Suir Co Tipperary.

Patrick O'Connell

An animal breeder assaulted by a man who harboured an eight-year grudge against him over the “purchase of two blind ferrets”, insisted: “That man has made my life a living hell.”

Father-of-five Gary Dowley, from Carrick-on-Suir, Co. Tipperary, also denied that he had sold bachelor farmer Donal Kavanagh two ferrets, saying he had given him one ferret who was able to see “just fine”.

Kavanagh (55), appeared before Carrick-on-Suir District Court where he was found guilty of assaulting Mr Dowley on February 1, 2017, on the town’s Kickham Street.

The court heard Kavanagh had carried out the assault as he harboured an eight-year grudge against Mr Dowley over the sale of two ferrets. After buying the ferrets, Kavanagh claims he discovered they were blind and useless for flushing rabbits from their holes.

Sergeant Ian Barrett told the court that Kavanagh dropped the shopping bags he had been carrying and went for Mr Dowley, catching him by the throat and threatening to punch him, saying: “You caught me for a ferret.”

The two men had a serious falling out after Kavanagh purchased the ferrets eight years ago.

Pat O'Connell speaking with Donal Kavanagh at his home outside Carrick on Suir Co Tipperary.
Pat O'Connell speaking with Donal Kavanagh at his home outside Carrick on Suir Co Tipperary.

Imposing a fine of €300 on Kavanagh on the assault charge, Judge Terence Finn advised the defendant to go to the small claims court if he had a grievance.

But Mr Dowley – who has bred ferrets for the past 22 years – rubbished the claims he had sold blind ferrets.

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“That story is completely wrong. This has been going on eight years. I gave Donal Kavanagh a ferret – I didn’t sell it to him, I gave it to him. There was just one ferret and the ferret was perfect.

“But he came back that evening and told me there was something wrong with the ferret. He said he was blind – and I said he was not blind.

“And this has been going on ever since. I can’t go to a supermarket or shopping centre without him roaring and shouting at me and calling me a c**t.

“Then the day outside the butcher’s he grabbed me by the throat and I went to the Gardaí – I just couldn’t put up with it anymore.”

Mr Kavanagh, when contacted, repeated his claim he had purchased the two ferrets from Mr Dowley and that they were blind when he removed them from the box.

“I was the fella who got f**king fined over the f**king thing. And it’s your man who done me,” he said.

“I’m f**king mad over what’s after happening. It’s driving me round the f**king bend.

“I don’t mind giving the solicitor his €150, but having to give the other c**ts €300 is driving me f**king wild.

“When I came home with the ferrets – Jesus Christ almighty, I’ll never forget it as long as I live.

“I dropped the ferrets on the ditch and there was a hole here and a hole there and Jesus Christ almighty the poor ferrets didn’t know where to go. The two of them were blind!

“I was after buying two ferrets for €30 a piece. They were supposed to be two grand ferrets… I didn’t get to see them at all because it was him who put them in the box. It was when I came home I said I’d go out and try the ferrets.

“And when I took them out of the box I said, ‘Jesus they’re very unusual’.

“They had big red eyes on them. I only wanted them for catching a few rabbits for fellas with greyhounds.

“I went back and said them two ferrets were inbred, they couldn’t see at all, but he said them ferrets were fine.

“I held on to the ferrets and they died. I never got me money back.

“And one thing that drives me wild about the court there the last day was that I never got to say anything, the judge never asked me anything at all.”

Asked about the assault on February 1, 2017, Kavanagh laughed, before going on: “I was fierce savage because I was waiting so long you see. I see him on and off but he’s trying to avoid me.

“It was just a coincidence it was at the butcher’s place…  I caught him and I said ‘listen boy, you owe me for them fecking two ferrets’.”

Asked whether he believed peace would now be restored between the pair, Mr Dowley said he wasn’t holding his breath.

“He’s been making my life a living hell. He was supposed to apologise after that court case but I’ve heard no apology from him. I’d be more than happy for this to be the end of it now."

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