Farmer issued with
hefty fines under Dogs Act
AN ELDERLY Inishowen farmer has been given a hefty
fine and warned to keep his dogs under control after
they made for two members of the same family out
walking with a baby.
George Cavanagh (75) of Carrowhugh, Greencastle,
pleaded not guilty to two charges under the Control
of Dogs Act when he appeared at Carndonagh District
Court on Tuesday.
One of the victims, Marian O'Donnell, told the court
she was walking on the evening of April 9, 2010 with
her 10 month old grandson when three or four dogs
came out of the defendant's property and made for
"They came at me barking and growling. I was
terrified they would attack the baby. I shouted and
roared and screamed but they wouldn't back off. I
brandished a stick at them but it made no
difference," said Mrs O'Donnell.
Under cross examination by defence solicitor, Ciaran
MacLochlainn, Mrs O'Donnell acknowledged that her
husband, Con, shared commonage land with the
defendant. However, she was adamant she was unaware
of any dispute between her husband and the accused
over the land.
Her daughter, Margaret, also took the witness stand
and testified that she was out walking around midday
on August 31, 2010 with her 14 month old son. She
said she was passing Mr Cavanagh's house when two or
three small terriers and a couple of collies
followed her, barking.
"I ran at them, I shouted and jumped at them. I was
afraid they were going to attack my son," she told
Judge Paul Kelly.
Garda Stephen Canning investigated both incidents.
He said that when he put Marian O'Donnell's
allegations to him, the defendant undertook to keep
his dogs under control.
However, when he put the second allegation to him,
the defendant hurled "a barrage of abuse" at him.
Garda Canning told the court that Mr Cavanagh
accused him of being the only one of five
Moville-based Gardaí to give him "grief about his
dogs". Mr Cavanagh declined to give a written
statement and was cautioned by Garda Canning.
Mr MacLochlainn told the court that his client was a
"substantial farmer" who owned land on both sides of
the road at Carrowhugh. He was a bachelor with a
serious heart condition who lived alone. He had had
items stolen from his property in the past and kept
dogs "for his own protection".
Mr MacLochlainn said the dogs were only "doing their
duty" when people came on his client's property.
However, Supt Kevin English, prosecuting, said the
women were walking on the public highway and were
not on the defendant's property when the dogs went
Judge Kelly said he was satisfied that the women
were not on the defendant's property when the
incidents took place. The court was told that Mr
Cavanagh had previous convictions in 2008 for having
uncontrolled dogs and being the owner of a dog that
was worrying livestock. Judge Kelly convicted Mr
Cavanagh and issued fines totalling €800 in respect
of the two charges. He gave the defendant four
months to pay. He also ordered Mr Cavanagh to keep
his dogs under proper control.