Rampaging bull terrier is shot with legally held gun in Northern Ireland
A Staffordshire bull terrier that went "out of control" during an attack on another dog before turning on its owner was shot dead with a legally held firearm, Dungannon Magistrates Court has heard.
The animal had attacked a dog on a neighbouring property and pulled its owner to the ground when he attempted to separate them.
Despite the viciousness of the incident, it was claimed the animal was a family pet that was in regular contact with small children.
The incident occurred at around 3.15pm on November 13 last year when the dog, owned by Colm Francis McNeice (28) of Seyloran Lane, Dungannon, strayed into the neighbour's garden and set about his dog in a vicious attack that caused injuries.
The attacking animal was described as "out of control", and despite numerous efforts it could not be calmed.
When the injured pet's owner tried to pull the attacking animal off, it trailed him to the ground.
Other people came to his aid but the attacking dog could not be subdued.
Another person at the scene then shot the dog dead with a legally held firearm.
The victim was treated by ambulance staff, while his pet required veterinary treatment for injuries.
McNeice was arrested and during police interview accepted he did not have a licence for the five-year-old dog, but had applied for one the previous week.
He told police neither he nor his partner were at home at the time of the attack and it was usual practice to padlock this dog and another of the same breed in a shed while they were out.
On this occasion McNeice said the lock had been smashed off by persons unknown, allowing the animals to get out.
In court defence counsel claimed the dog was "a family pet whose birth coincided with the birth of the owner's first child".
He maintained the Kennel Club-registered terrier was well kept and looked after by its owner, and was used to regular contact with children.
On the day in question McNeice claimed to have locked the dog and a second, younger Staffordshire bull terrier in a shed, but the padlock "had been smashed off by persons unknown". The dogs had broken out and were running free.
The defence accepted his client had formerly denied charges of being the keeper of a dog which had attacked a person and allowing it to stray, but changed his plea last week.
He said the original denial was based on "whether all reasonable steps had been taken to control the dog before it was shot".
District Judge John Meehan imposed fines totalling £440 and ordered McNeice to compensate the victim for his veterinary costs to treat the injured dog.