Man jailed for killing and cooking dog loses appeal against two-year jail term
A former mental health nurse who killed, butchered and cooked his dog has lost an appeal against his two-year jail term.
Dominic O'Connor's lawyers claimed the sentence imposed for strangling the animal and feeding it to his other dog was excessive.
They also argued there had been a failure to consider a report referring to the Co Down man's potential psychopathic characteristics as mitigation.
Senior judges in Belfast accepted it had been a difficult case, but upheld the sentence handed down for an act of "barbarity".
Dismissing the challenge, Lord Chief Justice Sir Declan Morgan said: "We cannot say it was either manifestly excessive or wrong in principle."
O'Connor, 29, of Roden Street, Kircubbin, was convicted of causing unnecessary suffering to an animal.
He had bought the four-year-old collie from online site GumTree.
During police questioning, O'Connor told officers how he strangled the dog with a lead, cut it up and cooked it. with some onions, an Oxo cube, salt and pepper.
He said he fed it to his other dog before burning the remains on a fire.
Later, the ashes were dumped into Portavogie harbour.
His actions were uncovered when he told hospital health professionals what he had done.
Police then visited his house, where they found burned dog hair and a liquid on the grate of the fire.
O'Connor was ordered to serve two years in prison and a further two years on licence after being found guilty by a jury.
He was also banned for life from owning another animal.
Appealing the sentence, defence lawyers claimed a failure to deal with a psychiatric report in mitigation.
The Court of Appeal heard it referred to a "window of opportunity" to avert the permanent establishment of a psychopathic-type personality disorder.
Eugene Grant QC also argued that his client's actions were unlike other cases where animals suffered over sustained periods.
"We don't see a situation of gratuitous torture, hurt or pain, we see one act," he said.
However, Sir Declan cited evidence that O'Connor had talked about getting another dog to kill and letting his pet "taste it".
He said: "The trial judge was entitled to come to the conclusion that that was his intention from the outset, and we are not in a position to second guess that."
Belfast Telegraph Digital