Man attacked animal officer over ‘confiscated dog’

A MISTAKEN belief that Clare’s animal welfare officer had confiscated a pedigree dog led an Ennis man to carry out an “unprovoked and frightening” roadside attack.

Ennis District Court yesterday heard how ISPCA officer Frank Coote was assaulted by Patrick Doherty, 31, of Ballaghboy, Quin Road, Ennis, last December.

Mr Coote was driving through Ennis at around 2.30pm when Doherty waved him down and subjected him to what Garda Inspector John Galvin called “an unprovoked and frightening assault”.

Doherty yesterday pleaded guilty to a Section 3 assault causing harm to Mr Coote on December 23.

“Mr Coote got blows from the accused to the side of his face,” Insp Galvin said. “Mr Coote called out for passersby to call the gardaí and Doherty assaulted him again.”

Insp Galvin said that Mr Coote attended the emergency department & at Ennis General Hospital as he had sustained a swollen jaw and cuts to the inside to the mouth. “Luckily, he didn’t have any serious injuries,” said Insp Galvin. “It was an awful thing to happen on the side of the road.”

Doherty was also before the court on a separate charge relating to smashing the windscreen of a garda car at Ashline, Ennis, the following day.

Insp Galvin said: “He seemed to be a man possessed on the day and was very threatening.”

Solicitor Darragh Hassett said Doherty “was out of control”.

“Forty-eight hours of madness took place because he was mentally sick,” he said, explaining that Doherty had not taken his prescribed medication over the two days. He handed a medical report into court.

Insp Galvin said that, “having read the report, it does explain his irrational and unwarranted behaviour”.

Mr Hassett said the Doherty family are well-known and are law-abiding. Insp Galvin said Doherty had no previous convictions.

Mr Hassett said Doherty was told wrongly that Mr Coote had taken his pedigree dog.

“He was sick when he met Mr Coote. They had an altercation and has since apologised to Mr Coote.

“Mr Coote and the Dohertys go back many the year and the Doherty family have helped Mr Coote get back lost dogs. Their relationship is now repaired.”

Mr Hassett said that Doherty is a father of eight and has never been inside a court in his life.

Judge Joseph Mangan adjourned the case to September 16 for the preparation of a probation report.

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