The owner of two Husky dogs that escaped from their pen and killed 16 sheep appeared at last week’s district court, where his solicitor queried the amount of compensation being proposed by the injured party.
16 out of a flock of 58 sheep were killed at the Bay Road, Portlaoise, with a further 41 left in a seriously distressed state, when the two dogs escaped after the wind blew down the fence containing them on December 27 last year.
Arising from the incident, Sean Muldowney, Old Mills, Oakvale, Carlow Road, Portlaoise, was charged with having an uncontrolled dog, and being the owner of a dog worrying livestock.
Inspector Kieran Keyes gave evidence that the injured party discovered the two Husky dogs in his field in the process of killing his sheep at 1pm on December 28. One dog was wearing a collar which allowed the gardaí to subsequently identify the animals’ owner. Muldowney acknowledged that the dogs were his and said that the wind had blown down the fence where he kept them. The dogs were handed over to the dog warden and were eventually put down.
Among the costs incurred by the injured party was €121 for each slaughtered sheep, bringing a total of €1,936, and €30 per head for the removal of the 16 dead sheep, a total of €480. The injured party was also claiming damages of around €1,991 for the distress caused to the remaining flock. The total damage being claimed was in the region of €4,407.
Defence, Ms Josephine Fitzpatrick said that her client had rescued the dogs in the first place and had been looking after them, but there had been stormy weather on the night and a fence blew down.
“What happened was the devastation we heard of,” said Ms Fitzpatrick.
Ms Fitzpatrick asked Judge William Early to adjourn the case, to clarify the distressed element of the claim and to check whether the injured party had insurance. She said Muldowney had €500 in court that day to offer as compensation.
Judge Early offered to finalise the matter by making a compensation order of €3,600, and a fine of €120. After consulting with Muldowney, Ms Fitzpatrick said her client wanted an adjournment, and the matter was put back to September 11.