Two years for killing his pet dog

Two years for killing his pet dog

6 December 2017

A KIRCUBBIN man who killed and cooked a pet collie dog has shown no remorse said the judge who has jailed him for two years.

Former mental health nurse, Dominic O’Connor (28) showed no reaction when he was sentenced by Judge Piers Grant to what is believed to be the toughest sentence ever imposed in Northern Ireland for animal cruelty.

As he was being led out of Downpatrick Crown Court on Wednesday a woman yelled from the public gallery; “Burn in hell you demon, you are the epitome of evil.”

O’Connor, of Roden Street, used a lead to strangle the helpless pet, and then chopped it up and fed it to his other dog last December.

After release O’Connor will serve another two years under licence in the community, Judge Piers Grant said.

He told the defendant: “The killing of this innocent, vulnerable dog had clearly been your calculation for some time.

“It is clear that you determined to kill this dog and in doing so inflict on this creature serious cruelty.

“In any view this behaviour is barbaric.”

O’Connor bought the dog from someone on the Gumtree classifieds website who was “misled” into expecting that the animal would be well-nurtured and looked after, the judge said. Instead, he choked it to death at the second attempt before shaving, butchering and cooking the animal’s body and using it as pet food for his other dog, Judge Grant said.

He added: “It is appropriate to recognise that the level of cruelty inflicted on this poor animal is very much at the upper end of the spectrum for this type of offending.”

The action was calculated and O’Connor was aware of the risk of detection when he disposed of some of the remains in a black plastic bag in Portavogie Harbour the judge remarked.

He said the defendant demonstrated no remorse and posed a high risk of reoffending, but pre-sentence reports showed he did not represent a serious risk of harm to others. O’Connor, who was wearing a bright yellow sweater, remained expressionless in the dock, where he was guarded by prison officers.

O’Connor had denied committing the offence but was convicted by a jury at a trial last month who returned their verdict in just five minutes.

Judge Grant said it was “inevitable” the jury would convict him of one count of causing unnecessary suffering to an animal.

The judge said it would be easy to consider O’Connor’s behaviour bizarre and indicative of mental illness, but he noted that his legal team had not produced any reliable medical evidence about his mental health.

The defendant has 23 unrelated previous convictions, some of which demonstrated preparedness to act irresponsibly, the judge added.

Judge Grant also banned O’Connor from keeping an animal for life because of his “disgraceful” and “heinous” behaviour.