28 May 2022

Judge tells Longford man convicted of kicking and punching dog: ‘You shouldn't be in charge of a goldfish’

Longford Courthouse.

A judge has told a man convicted of animal cruelty to a dog that he shouldn't be in charge of a goldfish

A Longford man who punched and kicked a dog in the head in front of gardaí has been told he shouldn’t even be in charge of a goldfish.

William McDonnell (48), Ballyminion, Athlone Road, Longford said he was “sorry” after gardaí charged him with cruelty to an animal during an incident in a Longford housing estate on May 2, 2020.

The court heard gardaí came across a German shepherd dog lying on the ground next to a house without a collar or muzzle.
Sgt Mark Mahon said Mr McDonnell appeared and attempted to fasten a chain to the dog despite a number of attempts.

Presiding Judge Marie Keane said as the accused man continued to grapple with the dog, he turned before punching and kicking it in the head.

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Sgt Mahon said the dog “cried and cowered away” as the incident unfolded with Mr McDonnell also being heard saying he should have struck the dog with a bar instead to stop him escaping.

The dog was later seized by the ISPCA.

Asked about Mr McDonnell’s criminal past, Judge Keane was told the accused had 118 previous convictions.

“He has a number of drug offences, he has other public order matters and criminal damage,” he said.

“He would be a known drug user and has drug addiction problems.”

John Quinn, defending, said Mr McDonnell was a man who was “down on his luck” and effectively homeless with his family having all but deserted him.

“He is in a serious situation and has separated from his wife and children,” he said.

“They are all gone from him and he is now living in a caravan.”

Mr Quinn said his client who struggled at times to stand on a crutch, was someone who came before the court with a plethora of medical problems.

“In addition to his physical situation, he is seriously depressed living alone,” added Mr Quinn.

Judge Keane said it was quite apparent to the court Mr McDonnell was man with a “violent disposition” as she referenced a separate charge in which the accused allegedly committed violent disorder in the foyer of Longford Courthouse in May 2019.

She described the attack on the dog as the “most appalling cruelty”, telling him: “You shouldn’t have a goldfish, never mind a dog in your care.”

Judge Keane said she would be seeking a probation report before indicating her intention to adjourn the case pending its completion.

“If you so much as kill a fly between now and then, you will come back here and you will be going to jail,” she warned him.

“You are an appalling man.”

The case is due to return before Longford District Court on May 24.

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