A man exasperated by the constant barking of a neighbour’s dog sprayed the Labrador with his hose to get him to stop but the dog’s owner reacted by threatening to kill his neighbour with a hurley.
Mattie Power, of Primrose Hill, Tower, Blarney, Co Cork, accepted that he called to the front door of his neighbour, Thomas Burke, and told him not to harass his wife by complaining to her when he (Power) was not at home and not to intimidate his dog by spraying him with his garden hose.
However, Power pleaded not guilty to a charge of engaging in threatening words or behaviour outside Mr Burke’s house on September 16 last year.
The matter came before Cork District Court yesterday where Mr Burke said he was having his dinner with his wife and infant daughter when there was a loud banging at his front door.
“Mattie was standing in front of my front door… with a hurley in his hand,” testified Mr Burke.
“He shouted, ‘what do you think you are doing?’ He was waving a hurley stick, waving it and pointing it at my face.
“He said, ‘what are you doing harassing my wife and intimidating my dog. We’ve got you on video spraying water at my dog. If you ever spray water at my dog I will bust you with this. I will kill you’.
“He struck the wall with the hurley demonstrating that that was what I would be getting. I felt my life was in danger, that I would be seriously injured or killed in the future.”
He said the background was that a couple of weeks before their daughter was born in July 2012 the neighbours got a dog that barked an awful lot, particularly when there was nobody in the house, less so when they were present, and not at all when Mr Power was there.
Mr Burke said he spent a long time complaining and sending notes to his neighbours asking them to address the barking issue.
He said: “I had a bit of a brainwave. The barking was non-stop. I said I will spray the dog with my garden hose. I sprayed him for a few minutes. And it worked. He stopped barking for a couple of hours.”
Defence solicitor Leo Murphy put it to Mr Burke that he had engaged in bizarre behaviour and that on occasions his neighbours saw him “peering over the hedge at the dog, antagonising the dog, causing the dog to bark” and that he ran off when Mrs Power came out. Mr Burke said he did not antagonise the dog in this way.
Mr Murphy said Mr Power only had the hurley because he had just taken it from his son who was on his way to a sports training session and that there was no threat. Mr Burke said, “He waggled it in my face as he threatened to kill me and bust me.”
Under cross-examination by Insp Eileen Foster, Kathleen Power, Mr Power’s wife, said: “She does bark quite a lot.”
Mr Power said he thought his neighbour was being irrational about a friendly dog that bothered nobody else in the neighbourhood and that the whole thing had been blown out of proportion by Mr Burke.
Judge Olann Kelleher said it was an unfortunate case to come before the court involving neighbours. He found the facts proven against Mattie Power on the only charge before the court — the count of being threatening — but gave him the benefit of a dismissal under the Probation of Offenders Act noting he had no previous convictions.
Mr Burke said he had since sold the house. Mr Power said the new owners had two dogs of their own.
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