Man warned to keep away from dogs

A Portlaoise man appealing a three-month sentence for having a Rottweiler dog loose in public without a muzzle on numerous occasions had his sentence increased but suspended at the recent circuit court.

Gordon Bergin, with addresses previously listed in Portlaoise but now living in Castletown, was given the three-month sentence at Portlaoise District Court in November, 2012. He was also ordered by Judge Catherine Staines to have no more custody of any controlled breed of dog.

When he appeared before the circuit court in October last, defence, Mr Simon McDonald said that Bergin has a long history of alcohol difficulty and has completed a course in Cuan Mhuire for his addiction. There were a number of positive elements in the probation report on Bergin, defence said.

“He’s in control of his own destiny for the first time in his life,” said Mr McDonald.

Judge Tony Hunt remarked that he had difficulty in relating Bergin’s drink problem to “this business about the dogs”.

“They are dangerous and many people find them offensive animals,” said the judge.

Defence replied that Bergin had been under the influence of alcohol at the time and he no longer has any contact with dogs.

Judge Hunt increased the original sentence to six months, but suspended this for 12 months on condition Bergin enter a peace bond of €300, and a probation bond for nine months. Bergin must keep all his appointments with the probation service and refrain from drinking alcohol.

“I don’t want to hear anything more about dogs, or anything else,” the judge warned him.


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