28 May 2022

Judge orders destruction of ‘very dangerous’ dog following attack in Longford street

Attacks: American Akita is man’s second dog ordered to be put down since 2018

Judge orders destruction of ‘very dangerous’ dog following attack in Longford street

A Longford District Court judge has ordered the destruction of a “dangerous” dog that attacked a man last month.

An application was made by Gardaí to declare that a dog owned by Stephen Doyle, 5 Richmond Street, Longford, was dangerous.

The application arose following an incident on February 8 where an elderly man was bitten by the animal.

“Any person who is a responsible dog owner, if they received even a whiff that their dog had flashed his teeth at someone, should be concerned,” said Judge Marie Keane, commenting that Mr Doyle’s attitude towards the situation was irresponsible.

“This is not responsible behaviour. This dog wasn’t even enclosed. He was attached to a chain. And Mr Doyle’s attitude is the dog pulled a Houdini and unchained itself, went biting people and then rechained himself.

“Why do you want a dog like that just to chain him up?” she asked Mr Doyle.

Mr Doyle explained that he had raised the American Akita from when it was a pup.

“And you’re suggesting we prioritise your feelings over the safety of an elderly man?” said Judge Keane.

“I direct the dog to be placed with the Longford dog warden immediately. This dog is to live within the dog pound where he will not be roaming around the place biting people.

“You are to go out there immediately and bring that dog to the dog pound,” she told Mr Doyle.

However, it was later revealed to the court by Inspector Paddy McGirl that the dog warden would not be taking possession of the dog because “it is a dangerous dog”.

“She’s not in a position to take the dog,” Insp McGirl explained.

Dog Warden for Longford, Hilary Robinson, arrived to court after lunch where she told the judge that she is “very familiar” with the American Akita in question since 2018.

“On Richmond Street, there were two dogs but the other dog has been put to sleep,” said Ms Robinson. “That dog has done untold damage since before 2018.

“In 2018, he attacked a woman who is still afraid to walk down that street. The judge ordered the dog be kept on a three foot chain. I check in every month and a half to make sure he’s still on the chain but as he gets older, his neck has gotten thinner and he can slip his chain.”

When asked why she could not accommodate the dog in the pound, Ms Robinson explained that she has staff and would be concerned for their safety.

“That dog is, in my professional opinion, a very dangerous dog. I do not trust this dog,” she said.

When asked if she was aware of the incident on February 18, Ms Robinson said she was aware of it and went down to check if the dog was on his chain, which he was.

“He’s an American Akita, so he’s bigger and more powerful than an alsatian,” she said. “Unfortunately, he’s got no boundaries and he’s kept on a chain, so he’s more aggressive.”

Judge Keane asked if Ms Robinson was aware that, if the court makes the order, the responsibility to put the dog down would lie with the dog warden. Ms Robinson said the vet would be the one to put the dog down, but she would be present.

Solicitor for the defence, John Quinn, implored the judge to allow his client to accommodate the dog elsewhere.

“Stephen has come back to say he has alternative accommodation in Moydow with sheds and stables and he would like to bring the dog there,” he said.

“No, I’m not prepared to do that,” said Judge Keane.

“We’ve heard evidence from Gardaí and from the dog warden that this is a very dangerous dog. I’m not satisfied this dog has been properly restrained.

“Mr Doyle shows no empathy whatsoever towards the 78-year-old man who was allegedly attacked. I’m satisfied the dog is dangerous and I’m making an order for his destruction.

“The dog is to be surrendered to the dog warden forthwith,” she concluded.

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