Cattle worrying case adjourned until September

The case against a Knock man who pleaded guilty to his dog’s worrying a neighbour’s cattle on two occasions last summer was adjourned until September by Judge Mary Devins. However she allowed the gardai liberty to re-enter the case on 48-hours notice if another incident occurred between now and then.

Karl Herber of Crockaunranneell, Knock, pleaded guilty in court to a number of offences related to dog worrying and related offences which occurred on a neighbour’s land on July 18 and August 30 2013. Inspector Mick O’Dwyer told the court that at 9.30pm on July 18 2013 the Garda received a call from Luke Hunt of Cloonfaughna, Knock, to say there were two German shepherd dogs had been chasing his cattle for the past 20 minutes on his lands. He told the Gardai the dogs belonged to Mr Herber, a neighbour of his. The Gardai called to Herber’s home and he told them that the dogs had got out after he inadvertently failed to secure a gate properly. Inspector O’Dwyer said that Mr Hunt’s cattle had run through a number of fences to get away from the dogs and caused between €2,000 and €2,500 worth of damage. The dogs returned home later than night and Mr Herber called the Garda station to inform them of their return.

Garda Peter Sarsfield told the court that he was on duty on August 30 2013 when he received a phone call from Luke Hunt to say that his son had just called him to say there were three dogs worrying his livestock on his lands. Garda Sarsfield said he called to Mr Herber’s house where he found him in a distressed state because he had heard two shots and believed two of his dogs were dead. Garda Sarsfield then went and found Mr Hunt’s son and another neighbour on the land, which was freshly dug up from the cattle running through it at speed. He was told by the neighbour that he had shot one of the dogs, a German shepherd, but the other two dogs, another German shepherd and collie dog, had run off and were believed to be in the woods. Garda Sarsfield was shown the dog that had been shot, and returned to Mr Herber’s house to inform him that one of his dogs was dead and to ask him to collect it.

Solicitor for Herber, Ms Cathy McDarby, told the court that her client was a 63-year-old man who lived by himself and the dogs where his companions and safety net, living in a isolated area. On the July incident he had not closed the gate properly and the dogs had got out, and for the August incident he had people staying with him and they had children with them who were playing with the dogs and they let them out by accident. She continued that since the incidents he had put in a lot of remedial work to ensure it does not happen again, such as spring loading doors so they snap shut instantly and improving the fencing around his home.

Judge Mary Devins heard from Mr Hunt and asked him if he would he like her to have the dogs destroyed, to which he replied he would. Ms McDarby appealed to Judge Devins not to impose that ruling as her client had made a mistake and had put in a lot of work to ensure it would not happen again. Judge Mary Devins adjourned her decision on the case until September 16 and said that if there was an issue of compensation to be offered that was between the parties and not for the court to rule on.

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