Belfast Telegraph

Man (23) to stand trial accused of killing his pet dog with hammer

By Paul Higgins

A Lurgan man is to go on trial for animal cruelty after he denied beating a puppy to death with a hammer.

Kyle Keegan entered not guilty pleas to the two charges against him when he appeared at Craigavon Crown Court yesterday.

Keegan, who was neatly dressed in a white shirt and tie, is charged with causing unnecessary suffering to Sparky the puppy on February 3 this year.

The 23-year-old, from Gilpins Manor in Lurgan, is also accused of criminal damage to the dog in that "without lawful excuse (he) destroyed a cross-breed puppy named Sparky... (was) intending to destroy such property or being reckless as to whether such property would be destroyed or damaged."

Previous courts have heard how the bloodied remains of the 12-week-old pup were uncovered in a bin in Ailsbury Park in Lurgan after a house party.

An initial post-mortem on the pup's remains revealed how Sparky had sustained a number of fractures as well as severe brain trauma.

At one stage there had been allegations that Sparky was put into a microwave, but despite sending tissue samples to Scotland for analysis, no evidence of that has been forthcoming to date. Previous courts have also heard that as well as the forensic aspect of the investigation, police conducted enquiries with social media outlets after the incident was allegedly broadcast online.

Following Keegan's denial today yesterday, defence barrister Barry McKenna said two expert reports would be required.

He didn't have a timeframe for when they would be available, adding that he did not think matters would ready until a few weeks' time.

Prosecuting counsel Nicola Auret told Judge Patrick Lynch QC the PPS were ready to go to trial and asked the defence to look at agreeing witnesses.

Keegan was freed on continuing bail and Judge Lynch said he would review the case next Wednesday.

Belfast Telegraph

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