A DUBLIN man has escaped jail after violently killing his dog in a public park because he could not afford the vet’s bills - and a judge also ruled that the man is free to keep animals in the future.
Liam Dowling, 44, was allegedly seen by one witness swinging his Jack Russell dog over his head by its lead and smashing it into the ground up to 30 times.
One Garda told Dublin Circuit Criminal Court that Dowling was also seen putting his foot on the dog’s head while he pulled tight on its lead.
A Dublin Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (DSPCA) vet found that the dog had died from repeated blunt force trauma to its head.
The incident took place in a public park area at Clonliffe College on the north side of Dublin city on August 19, 2014.
Dowling, with an address at Fitzgibbon Court, Fitzgibbon Street, Dublin, pleaded guilty to killing a protected animal. It emerged in the court proceedings that he had 12 previous convictions, including a four and a half year sentence for a drugs offence.
Judge Martin Nolan said: “By any standard what happened to this poor dog was incredibly cruel.”
However, he noted that the accused was on prescription drugs at the time of the incident. It was further noted that Dowling cares for a child.
Judge Nolan said that he would not impose a ban on Dowling keeping animals as he did not want to deprive the man’s child of having pets.
Dowling was handed down 200 hours of community service in lieu of a prison sentence for the crime.
He told the court that the dog, which had been a family pet for the past nine years, was sick for up to five months before its death and he could not afford the vet’s bills.
He also said he had previously tried to suffocate the dog in a field. He told the court he was unaware of the free euthanasia service provided by the Irish Blue Cross for sick animals.
“Sorry, I thought I was doing the right thing,” Dowling said.
Judge Nolan adjourned the matter until October, pending a community service report.