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Pictured: Belfast man who beat his dog to death with hammer after attack on girl

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Wayne McGrath was banned from keeping animals

Wayne McGrath was banned from keeping animals

Attack: McGrath killed his American bull-dog type pet with a hammer

Attack: McGrath killed his American bull-dog type pet with a hammer

Wayne McGrath was banned from keeping animals

This is the north Belfast man facing prison for beating his dog to death after it viciously attacked an eight-year-old girl.

Wayne McGrath was this week sentenced to four months after admitting charges of being the owner of the dog involved in the attack and then causing it unnecessary suffering after killing the animal with a hammer.

McGrath (47), of Marsden Gardens off the Cavehill Road, was released pending an appeal against the sentence. He was also banned for life from keeping any other animal.

The family of Annie McFadden, left with lifelong injuries following the May 2019 mauling, welcomed the jail term. In an interview with the Irish News, her mother Patricia said she hoped the sentencing would bring some"closure".

Belfast Magistrates Court heard how Annie suffered 16 wounds to the front of her head, shoulder and arm. She needed three hours of surgery and is scarred for life.

The court heard how McGrath's American bulldog-type dog, which was off the lead, bit and mauled the girl during the attack at Kinnaird Avenue. Witnesses described watching as the dog shook the child and trailed her by the hair.

McGrath and another man punched and kicked the dog and she managed to break free. But the animal escaped a chain and chased her.

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Attack: McGrath killed his American bull-dog type pet with a hammer

Attack: McGrath killed his American bull-dog type pet with a hammer

Attack: McGrath killed his American bull-dog type pet with a hammer

"The dog caught up with the child and got on top of her, and was shaking her and mauling at her chest," a prosecution lawyer told the court.

McGrath told police he killed the dog a day after the attack, hitting the animal twice on the head with a hammer, then burning the body.

He claimed he received death threats following the attack and was under pressure to get rid of the animal. He claimed not to have the money to pay a vet for the euthanisation.

Belfast Telegraph