Donegal dog owner ordered to pay €10,000 after sheep attack

By Gerry McLaughlin 

A Co. Donegal dog owner has been ordered to pay €10,000 compensation to a farmer by Donegal District Court after his two Alsatians killed three pedigree sheep.

Businessman Gregory McGrory, of Carrick East, Laghy, was ordered to pay the compensation to Seamus Thomas, of Tulywee, Laghey, after the incident on March 11 last year, which Judge Kevin Kilrane called an “appalling sight” that would cause “shock, hurt and upset hugely to any farmer”.

The accused pleaded guilty to having no dog licence and being the owner of the dogs in question.

Judge Kilrane noted that a similar incident happened to the farmer eight years ago – also involving dogs belonging to the defendant.

The defendant was not in court for the decision, and the judge noted that he did not speak directly to the injured party or sit down with him to talk compensation.

The farmer told the court that, on the day the incident occurred, the defendant rang him to tell him about the attack, explaining that one of the animals was badly injured and that he had called a vet.

When the farmer arrived on the scene, he met a vet and the defendant’s son, and learned that one of his rams had been put down.

The vet explained that one of the pregnant ewes had been killed. Three ewes later aborted and the sheep became distressed.

The defendant did not turn up at the scene but sent his wife instead, the court was told.

A solicitor for the defendant offered the sum of €7,000 for compensation, but the injured party estimated the damage would amount to €10,000.

The court also heard that one of the rams had cost the farmer €4,000, while another sheep that was attacked was found dead in a drain.

Compensation was also paid in the other incident eight years ago.

Defence solicitor John Murray told the court that the two dogs had escaped from the defendant’s residence when automatic gates were briefly opened during a 30-second delay.

The defendant went looking for the dogs as soon as he became aware they were gone, and reported the matter to the Gardai when he found the result of what happened. He then sent the dogs to a trust in London, according to Murray.

The court heard that the defendant was attempting to deal with the devastation of what had happened.

The judge said that keeping two unlicenced Alsatian dogs showed a “lack of responsibility”, and that there was a “huge onus” on the defendant to keep them under control.

Judge Kilrane ordered the compensation to be paid by September 4, and adjourned the case until then.

He added that it must be established that the dogs are no longer in the area, and if they are, they “need to be destroyed”.