Danger of bulls highlighted, as inquest hears how one farmer died following attack

Farmers have been warned to be extra vigilant when working with bulls and cattle after an inquest heard how a 65-year-old farmer was trampled to death in an attack.

The inquest also heard how the victim’s twin brother was also attacked by the bull on the same day, according to the Donegal Democrat.

It was reported that Patrick Dowds from Toulett, Burt in Co. Donegal died from extensive chest injuries consistent with being trampled by a bull on September 16, 2015.

His twin brother, George Dowds, told the inquest how he and Patrick lived and farmed together.

Patrick generally would begin work at 8am, before returning to the house for tea about two hours later. But on the morning in question he failed to return, the Donegal Democrat reported.

The inquest heard how George went searching for his brother, but he did not locate him in the yard. Along with family members, George then went to check a field where a bull and about three cows were.

Though he could not recall exactly what happened, George was suddenly knocked to the ground; he knew it must have been the bull that attacked him.

He was then taken to hospital, according to the Donegal Democrat.

It is believed the brothers had the Charolais bull on their farm for three months and it had not acted aggressively before.

It was reported that most of their cattle had been removed from the field and that just two or three were kept there to keep the bull from attempting to break out.

‘All hell broke loose’

The inquest also heard from Patrick’s cousin, Edward Dowds, who had arrived in the afternoon to work with Patrick.

At the time Edward was unaware that Patrick was missing, but when he checked the yard he saw his cousin’s jeep. Shortly afterwards he located his cousin lying dead on a bank in the field with his shirt off, the Donegal Democrat reported.

Then all hell broke loose, Edward said. He later identified his cousin’s body to a doctor.

Meanwhile, a neighbour of the twin brothers, John McDaid, also gave evidence at the inquest. He had lent the three-and-a-half-year-old bull to the Dowds as a ‘neighbourly’ gesture free of charge.

McDaid said he never had any problem with the bull previously and that it was a breed known to be less aggressive than others, the report added.

Worrying evidence

Detective Garda Robin Doyle told the inquest how he observed Patrick Dowd’s body on the ground with a blanket around him. Evidence also suggested that he was dragged along the ground.

An autopsy revealed the 65-year-old had multiple lacerations, his right lung was partially collapsed and he had suffered numerous broken ribs as well as a broken sternum – consistent with being trampled by a bull, according to the Donegal Democrat.

Coroner Dr. Denis McCauley ruled that Mr Dowds’ death was the result of a farm accident, whereby respiratory failure had been caused due to being trampled by a bull.

He said he hoped the safety message would get out that great care should be taken by farmers, but added that bulls were “a fact of life on farms”. He offered his condolences to all the Dowds family.

Sergeant Pauline O’Connor offered her condolences on behalf of the Gardai.