Father who brutally killed dog in front of children is 'ashamed'
A Dublin man who savagely killed his daughter's dog by swinging it over his head on its lead and smashing it off the path in a park up to 30 times, has said he is shamed by has actions and blamed his behaviour on drugs.
"I'm walking around holding my head down in shame," said Liam Dowling (44), after he avoided a jail sentence last week for killing the eight-year-old Jack Russel named Milo.
At Dublin Circuit Criminal Court a garda told how witnesses saw Dowling put his foot on the dog's head and pull the lead tight.
"I can't explain it. I have no memory of that day because of the amount of stuff I took. I was on methadone and I took anti-depressants and other drugs. I don't usually do that because of the way they react," Dowling told the Sunday World.
"I don't remember other people who were in the park who were meant to have come over and approached me.
"It was all still hazy when I was in the garda station," he added.
"It wasn't until the next day when someone said it was on the internet that I recollected it. But even now I can't remember what I done to him," Dowling explained.
"I couldn't swing a dog 30 times in the air, I mean you wouldn't be able to, and I wouldn't," he said.
He first told gardai that the dog had run away but later admitted killing him.
Garda Shane Mengessidis told the court last Tuesday how Dowling walked across the park near Clonliffe College on August 19 last year swinging the dead dog over his head before going into some bushes.
Witnesses, including children, said they saw Dowling later come out of the bushes with just the lead.
A vet with the Dublin Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (DSPCA) found the dog had died from repeated blunt force trauma to its body.
Dowling told gardai the dog had been sick for up to five months and he didn't have the money to pay for vet's bills.
"I got him when he was a pup eight years ago and he was like one of the family," said Dowling.
"The thought of what happened makes me sick, even thinking about what happened makes me sick.
"He was my pet, my family's little pet. But he was sick for months, he wouldn't stop vomiting. We had him at the vet and all," Dowling explained.
He said he is a lone parent with a daughter and could not afford the vet bills for Milo.
"I'm not a cruel person. I wouldn't harm any animal," he insisted.
"I didn't bring him down there that day to do that harm to him. This has destroyed my life and my daughter's life. I have to hold my head down in shame now," he added.
Judge Martin Nolan said that by any standard what had happened to the dog was "incredibly cruel" but noted that Dowling was on prescription medication.
He intends to impose 200 hours of community service on Dowling in lieu of a two-year prison term if Dowling proves suitable.
The judge said he would not impose a ban on Dowling keeping an animal because he didn't want his daughter to be deprived of the chance of having a pet.
Dowling has said he will take whatever punishment is handed down to him.
"I wasn't in the right state of mind, but it still shouldn't have happened," he said.
Dowling, of Fitzgibbon Court, Fitzgibbon Street, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to killing a protected animal.
He has 12 previous convictions, including drugs offences.