Belfast Telegraph

Father who battered dog after daughter was bitten avoids jail

By George Jackson

A father who beat a Jack Russell terrier dog to death after it had bitten his eight-year-old daughter has been sentenced.

Deputy District Judge Peter King was told that the two-year-old dog, known as Biggie Smalls, was so badly beaten with a four-foot-long baton that it had to be humanely destroyed by a vet.

Before the court was William John Ireland (33), from Ferguson Street in Londonderry.

He admitted a charge of causing unnecessary suffering to the animal at Cornshell Fields on September 1 of last year.

Derry Magistrates Court was told that Ireland received a call that his daughter had been “mauled” by the dog. He arrived at the scene in an hysterical state, and went into the garden where the dog was chained up and repeatedly struck the animal with the baton.

Defence counsel Stephen Chapman said Ireland “went berserk” after he'd been misinformed that his daughter had been savaged by the terrier.

She had been bitten by the dog, which had also bitten another child the previous week, but was not badly injured.

Mr King said but for the fact that Ireland, who had 23 previous convictions, some of them for violent offences, had shown full remorse, he would have sent him straight to jail.

The last of his previous offences was committed more than a decade ago in 2001.

A pre-sentence report said Ireland had “successfully turned his life around” following previous offending and it was not thought likely that he would reoffend.

It also emerged that he had offered to pay the vet bills for the dog and that 13 days after committing the offence he had gone voluntarily to Strand Road PSNI station where he admitted killing the dog, telling police that he had “just flipped” when he arrived at the scene where his daughter had been injured

Taking all this into account, instead of jailing Ireland the judge ordered him to serve 240 hours of community service, the maximum amount the court could impose.

Belfast Telegraph

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