A Derry father was not sentenced to jail time having beaten a Jack Russell terrier dog to death. He believed the dog was responsible for seriously injuring his eight-year-old daughter.
The judge, Deputy District Judge Peter King, was told that the two-year-old dog, called Biggie Smalls, was so badly beaten that it had to be put down by a vet.
William John Ireland (33), from Ferguson Street in Derry, admitted to beating and causing unnecessary harm to the small dog, with a four-foot-long baton, at Cornshell Fields, on 1st September 2011.
Ireland told the court he’d received a call telling him his daughter had been “mauled” by a dog. When he arrived at the scene he was hysterical. He went into the garden, where the dog was chained up, and hit the dog with the baton.
The Belfast Telegraph reported that defense counsel, Stephen Chapman, said Ireland “went berserk”. He had been misinformed that his daughter had been savagely attacked by the dog.
Although his daughter had been bitten by the dog she was not seriously injured. The same dog has also bitten another child earlier that week.
Thirteen days after the incident, Ireland admitted to the attack and offered to pay the vet’s bills. He handed himself in to the Strand Road PSNI station telling police he had “just flipped”.
Judge King said the fact that Ireland, who has 23 previous convictions, showed full remorse saved him from jail. Ireland’s last offense was in 2001.
The judge commended Ireland for “successfully turning his life around” and said it was unlikely he would reoffend.
Ireland was ordered to complete 240 hours of community service, the maximum amount the court could impose.
According to the Derry Journal, King said the “circumstances surrounding the killing of this dog are somewhat exceptional. I accept that as a father the red mist came down, but that does not justify the level of violence meted out.”