Farm Ireland

Friday 16 November 2018

Sheep farmers involved in shooting neighbour's pet dog spared jail sentence

 Stock photo
 Stock photo

George Jackson

Two sheep farmers involved in the killing of a pet dog have avoided prison.

Brian McEldowney and his nephew Gerald McEldowney were given suspended sentences at Derry Crown Court last week.

They dumped the dog's carcass in a field to give the impression that it had been legally shot dead for sheep worrying.

Judge Philip Babington said it was "with some considerable hesitation" that he had decided not to jail the defendants.

Brian McEldowney (56), from Five Mile Straight in Draperstown, admitted shooting the four-year-old border collie cross-beagle called Buster with his legally held shotgun.

He also admitted trespassing at a byre at Cloane Road, Draperstown, where he shot the dog, and possessing a shotgun and ammunition with intent to endanger life.

Gerald McEldowney (37) from Cloane Road admitted removing the dog's carcass to impede the apprehension of his uncle.

The dog was the family pet of the McGuigan family, who are neighbours of Gerald McEldowney.

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The offences occurred on March 31, 2016 when Buster broke free from a chain at the McGuigan farmyard before running across Gerald McEldowney's field. It was during the lambing season and there were lambs and ewes in the field.

On April 5, following a complaint from the McGuigan family, the police seized the carcass. A subsequent post mortem examination revealed it had died from a single gunshot wound to the neck.

Both men were arrested and later apologised for traumatising the McGuigan family by their involvement in Buster's death.

Judge Babington told the McEldowneys that they should have contacted a dog warden or the police with their concerns that Buster was responsible for sheep worrying.

"I have no doubt this was done because Brian lost his temper as the result of sheep losses", he said.

Judge Babington said Brian McEldowney should never again be allowed to hold a licence shot gun.

He sentenced Brian McEldowney to 12 months' jail, suspended for three years, and ordered him to pay compensation of £500 to the McGuigan family.

Judge Babington sentenced Gerald McEldowney to three years in jail, suspended for two years.

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