Monday 11 December 2017

O'Doherty: Why do we allow dog abusers get away with it?

Marvin: brutalised by a gang of sick young thugs in Cork
Marvin: brutalised by a gang of sick young thugs in Cork
Ian O'Doherty

Ian O'Doherty

Even in a country with as poor an animal rights record as ours, this was a story which was enough to make even the hardest stomach want to vomit. Last Saturday, a dog was found by the Cork Dog Action Welfare Group (DAWG) on the verge of death. Marvin the Jack Russell was a 5-year-old family pet and had been stolen. When he was found, his throat had been slashed, his body was covered in lacerations, an attempt had been made to cut off one of his legs and it appears that there was also an effort to castrate him.

Despite the best efforts of DAWG, Marvin soon died and, to be honest, that was probably a relief. Dogs are resilient creatures, but some violations are simply too grotesque to ever recover from.

Marvin's family, as you can imagine, are devastated.

To lose a beloved pet is traumatic in any circumstances; to lose one in such a sickeningly cruel manner is beyond comprehension. Marvin's owner, Sylvia McCarthy, spoke movingly of her family's horror at what had happened to their beloved Marvin and her words will chill the blood of any dog-lover: "It's the way he died. He was all cut underneath, he was cut down below, they tried to cut off his leg. They just missed the jugular vein by centimetres, if they had done that and killed him he would have been out of his misery but they just left him there. They tortured him."

Incredibly, this is not an isolated incident and there have been multiple reports of dogs and cats going missing in Cork and, indeed, all over the country.

In this particular instance, the culprits are locally believed to be a gang of kids who have been running wild. I'm probably not alone when I say that I'd happily return the favour to the people who did this. I don't care what age they are, or how bad their home life has been. I don't give two hoots if they are the product of a broken home, nor do I give a stuff if, rather than coming from a broken home, they come from a wonderful family and this was a mere aberration, which is the other excuse used when a young degenerate comes before the courts. My personal desire for some extra judicial justice, frontier style, is a perfectly natural response but it's not an acceptable one. After all, lynch mobs seldom end well and any rational person has contempt for vigilantes. But the infuriating element to this horror story is that even if the people responsible are caught (and if locals know who they are, you'd like to think they'll be busted before they can do it again) the chances are the courts will do little about it.

We have a truly appalling standard of sentencing for animal cruelty in this country and it brings shame on us all.

A couple of weeks ago a Dublin man was convicted of beating his dog - another Jack Russell, as it happens - to death in a Dublin park. Liam Dowling swung the dog by the lead and smashed it repeatedly against the ground before stamping on its head. The sentence? Community service.

Incredibly, the judge didn't even ban Dowling from ever keeping a dog again, because he didn't want to 'deprive' his children of having dogs again.

Frankly, after what happened to their first pet, I doubt his kids ever want to see their da anywhere near another creature ever again. The DSPCA said they were 'shocked and angered' by the sentence, which, you have to admit, showed admirable restraint on their behalf.

There is something deeply wrong with anyone who can do such a thing to a defenceless animal and the nature of Marvin's wounds were indicative of a future serial killer at work. Is there anything we can do?

Well, here's a practical suggestion - contact your local dog pound and if you can't rescue a dog yourself, you can at least make a donation. Charities have never been held in such low regard as they are right now, but animal shelters are the one place you can make a donation in the knowledge that every cent you give will go the most deserving. Nobody running a dog shelter ever earned a hundred grand a year. But they certainly make people's live better and they are the ones we should be supporting.


Honestly, you wait ages for one race huckster to come along and then two appear nearly at once.

Following the truly hilarious story of prominent black activist Rachel Dolezal, who was outed as being white, the odious Black Lives Matter movement faces new humiliation with the revelation that one of their leaders, Shaun King, is pure, unadulterated honky.

Yes, the man who received a special Oprah Winfrey grant reserved only for young black men is as white as the driven snow, if not quite as pure.

Interestingly, he has received support from the usual useless idiots in the media who say that his colour isn’t important, it’s what he stood for that counts.

Well, he apparently stands for the right to lie and deceive with impunity simply because they approve of what he has to say.

But the usual suspects can defend him as much as he wants, I still wouldn’t want to be in his shoes when Oprah gets her hands on him.

After all, she was infamously fooled by Jason Blair and he hasn’t been seen since.

I’m not saying there’s any connection between those two events, but you know...

just putting it out there.

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