Pair fined for dog attack on woman

A Co Clare couple, whose dog attacked an 84-year-old woman who sustained serious injuries, have been fined €1,000 at Kilrush District Court.

The defendants were in court under the Control of Dogs Act, which states all dogs must be kept under effective control by their owners.

Martin Clohessy, of Kildysart Road, Kilrush, appeared in court on a charge of failing to have the dog securely muzzled, while Marina Dekker, of Shragh, Kilrush, appeared on a charge of not having a licence for the American Akita breed of dog.

They pleaded guilty to the charges.

Inspector John Ryan, of Kilrush Garda Station, said on May 30, 2013, Carmel O’Brien was walking through Kilrush Wood when she noticed Clohessy and Dekker walking the large breed of dog in the opposite direction.

The defendants said Ms O’Brien came over to pat the dog moments before it bit her. However, Insp Ryan said the victim denied patting the dog.

Insp Ryan said Ms O’Brien had stated the “dog had just bitten her” as she had walked past the couple.

Insp Ryan submitted a medical report and a photograph to Judge Patrick Durcan, who described the extent of the attack on the elderly woman. “The photograph shows quite serious injuries,” he said. “And as a result [of the dog’s attack] she has quite limited use of her arm.”

Judge Durcan also noted Ms O’Brien had injuries to her right shoulder, which she sustained when she fell while the dog was jumping on her.

Judge Durcan said whether Ms O’Brien patted the dog or not the attack was regrettable and he had a great deal of sympathy for the elderly victim.

He said it was unclear from the medical report if the victim was likely to make a full recovery or not.

While the attack was very serious he accepted the couple were very remorseful.

He convicted both defendants and fined Clohessy €750 and Dekker €250.

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