Friday, December 9, 2016

United Kingdom: Paul Bourke's German Shepherds chased, attacked and mauled Westie named Molly to death in her own yard

UNITED KINGDOM -- A man whose German Shepherds mauled and killed a neighbor's pet the day before he was due to be forced to leave the home has been given a stay of execution after he lodged an appeal.

Paul Bourke of Thornton, Kilsallaghan was ordered by Judge Dermot Dempsey at Swords District Court to have the two dogs 'destroyed within five days' after he found in favor of the complainant Andrea Sheridan, that the dogs did kill her West Highland Terrier Molly, after Mr Bourke's father John let the dogs out of their pens and enclosed area.

However, last Wednesday morning, through his counsel Bernard Stobie, Mr Bourke requested to seek a stay on the order until an appeal has been dealt with in a different court.

'There is a right of appeal there and the court should allow my client to appeal the judgement. In the event of no stay on the order then an appeal cannot be lodged,' explained Mr Stobie.

Ms Sheridan's solicitor David Stafford said there may be a clarity on the order needed.

'But the evidence given in court was clear and the court decided on the order on a balance of convenience to society (Ms Sheridan) versus the dog owner,' said Mr Stafford. 'A colleague in a higher court will be faced with the same facts and the same decision in favor of Ms Sheridan.'

Judge Dempsey said while he agreed with what Mr Stafford had said, he said 'my hands are tied.'

He fixed recognisances for an appeal to be lodged and granted a stay of seven days on the original order made that the dogs be destroyed within five days.

At a hearing in Swords last week, the court heard that Andrea Sheridan's beloved six year old West Highland Terrier Molly was mutilated and killed by the 'restricted breed' dogs in September in front of her after the dogs owner, Paul Bourke's father John, let the five dogs out of their pens.

Andrea's ten year old Labrador Torres was also injured in the vicious attack by the German Shepherds, which are used for breeding.

Judge Dermot Dempsey described the incident as a 'malicious act' and found the two German Shepherds to be 'dangerous'. He ordered both dogs to be destroyed within five days, after hearing the case at Swords District Court.

He said it 'was more than a coincidence' the dogs were let out of their kennels - the day before Paul Bourke, of Thornton, Kilsallaghan, was given to vacate the house he is renting from Ms Sheridan's partner Stephen Madigan's mother following an order made by the Private Residential Tenancies Board (PRTB).

A Determination Order secured by the owner of the house Marie Madigan on June 21 and issued to Paul Bourke stated he was served a notice of termination on November 11, 2015 and that he was to vacate the house within 90 days of the issue of the Determination Order, meaning he had until September 21 to vacate the house.

He is still living at the house.

Ms Sheridan brought the court proceedings against the two Bourkes under Section 22 of the Control of Dogs Act.

She said on September 20 at 6pm while she was changing her newborn son's nappy in the front room she heard a commotion outside.

'Dogs were banging off the back door and barking like mad. My ten year old Labrador Torres and Molly were outside and I could see the two German Shepherds were attacking Torres. I didn't see Molly so I went out the front to call her. Two German Shepherds then chased Molly from the back garden to the front. Molly tried to get in the front door and then the two German Shepherds came after her and tried to get in too.

'I was so afraid the German Shepherds were going to get into my house as my newborn was on the floor in the sitting room so I had to close the door on the German Shepherds.'

Molly did not make it into the house and Andrea witnessed the two German Shepherds 'pulling Molly apart, viciously mauling her to death.'

She said she ran upstairs with her newborn and started to throw large objects out the window to get the dogs away from Molly.

Screaming hysterically, she shouted at John Bourke, who was standing in the front garden next door, to help her and call the dogs away.

'He just looked at me and smirked at me,' said Andrea.

She said a neighbour who lives close by heard her screams and came to her home. 'The German Shepherds scarpered then and poor Molly was just lying there. There was blood everywhere,' she said.

John Bourke, from Oak Lawn, Royal Oak in Santry, told the court he was minding the dogs for 10 days and admitted he let the dogs out of the pens in the garden which he claimed was 'enclosed.'.

He denied hearing Andrea scream and claimed he 'didn't see anything'.

When asked by prosecuting solicitor David Stafford if the German Shepherds that killed Molly were his son Paul's, he replied 'I don't think they were the dogs I was in control of.'

Paul Bourke told the court he's a dog breeder for 15 to 20 years and has been residing in Thornton, Kilsallaghan since 2010, next door to Ms Sheridan.

He said the German Shepherds are kept in individual pens and he has a larger pen for them to run in.

He said it's 'not possible' the dogs escaped into Ms Sheridan's garden. 'I am not the only person in Kilsallaghan who owns German Shepherds,' he said. He claimed his dogs are 'well socialised and well mannered.'

He admitted there has been animosity between him and the family next door.

Judge Dempsey accepted the evidence of Ms Sheridan and said the 'defendants' evidence was totally unreliable.'

'It's more than a coincidence it was a malicious act, the day before Mr Bourke was ordered to move from the house by the PRTB decision,' said Judge Dempsey.

He made an order for the two German Shepherds to be brought to a dog warden within five days to be destroyed.

(Fingal Independent - Dec 9, 2016)