herald

Sunday 21 January 2018

Pit bull seized after attack on garda is reunited with owner

A JUDGE has ruled that a dog that attacked a garda on duty in a city flats complex can be reunited with its owner, a year after it was seized and impounded.

The pit bull cross, owned by John Watson (35), bit the officer as she patrolled Dolphin House in Dublin's south inner city.

Watson was cleared of a charge of having an uncontrolled dog after his defence argued that he was unaware that the animal had escaped from his flat at the time.

Dublin District Court heard Watson, an alcoholic, had got the dog to help him stay off drink.

He was fined €200 for not having a licence for the dog, but summonses for permitting the dog to be loose and without a leash or muzzle were dismissed. He had denied these charges.

Garda Deborah O'Sullivan of Kilmainham Garda Station told the court she was on beat duty alone when without warning the dog came "flying up" behind her.

"It went for my ankle, then circled, lunged and bit my shoe," she said. She was not injured in the attack and brought the dog back to the owner. It had been "detained" since the incident in May, 2009.

Defence solicitor Leanora Frawley said the offence of permitting a dog to be loose and uncontrolled meant the accused had to know the dog was loose. She said her client had not been aware that the dog had got out after he returned from shopping.

Garda O'Sullivan said: "My worry was the animal could have attacked somebody who was less capable of defending themselves than me."

She told the court the accused was highly intoxicated when she returned 10 minutes later.

Judge Bryan Smyth said while he was "not entirely satisfied" with the defence argument he would dismiss three of the summonses because it was a criminal prosecution.

aphelan@herald.ie

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