| 5°C Dublin

Family's delight as judge spares dog after attack


Laura Harford

Laura Harford

Laura Harford

A DOG-loving family is celebrating after a judge ordered that their pet pooch be returned to them in time for Christmas.

Laura Harford's seven-year-old white Staffordshire bull terrier, Ruby, wandered from the family's back garden at Brookdale, Tallaght, along with their other pet, a pug called Puddy, on November 9.

While out, Ruby became involved in two incidents with other dogs and South Dublin County Council seized the animal.


Ms Harford pleaded guilty before Tallaght District Court to two counts of having ineffectual control of her dog in a public place.

However, she begged the judge not to make an order putting down the dog, telling the court that Ruby was a "much beloved family pet".

Judge John Lindsay ordered that Ruby be returned to Ms Harford and her husband Jason Hanbury, but he warned them that Ruby must be kept secured in the back garden at all times.

Ruby must also be on a lead and muzzled at all times when is in a public place.

Judge Lindsay adjourned sentencing to a date in April to see if Ms Harford complies with the conditions.

He warned her that if she breaches the conditions, South Dublin County Council can bring her back to her court and the dog may then be destroyed.

Speaking after the judge's decision, Ms Harford, a creche worker, said her "baby" was coming home.

"Ruby coming home is the best Christmas ever," she said.

Ms Harford had run a Facebook campaign, "Save Ruby", which received more than 8,000 likes as she fought to save her dog's life.

On Thursday, Tallaght District Court was shown CCTV footage of Ruby attacking two other dogs at Old Bawn Way.

Karl Finlay, who took the footage, said he was watching TV when he heard panicked shouting.

He looked outside and saw an elderly man and his dog, which was being attacked by Ruby.

Mr Finlay said he ran out, grabbed the dog by the scruff of its neck and put it into his porch.

He said he rang gardai to tell them there was a dangerous dog on the loose.

The court heard the dog was in Mr Finlay's front porch for 90 minutes, but he eventually let her out because she was "p*ssing and sh*tting" all over the place.


In relation to the second incident, Mr Finlay said he was again watching TV when he heard a blood-curdling scream. He said he saw Ruby in a full charge at a small black-and-white dog, which was being taken for a walk by an 11-year-old girl.

The court heard the small dog pulled the girl across the road, and Ruby pinned the dog upside down and had it by its throat.

He said he kicked the dog to break the attack, and picked up the small dog. He then brought the girl to a neighbour who took her home.

The council had sought to have the dog destroyed, claiming it was dangerous.