Gardaí play down claims over dog death

Gardai in Letterkenny have played down reports that a dog was kicked to death by a group of children in the town.

Gardai in Letterkenny have played down reports that a dog was kicked to death by a group of children in the town.

A garda statement was issued on the incident yesterday following coverage on Highland Radio and in the press. The coverage came after a local man, emailed local media outlets saying he had witnessed a group of children kick a puppy to death in the Long lane area of the town on Thursday evening. The man said he saw three children, aged between five and 11-years-old kicking the dog as he drove past. He then reported the incident to the ISPCA and garda.

The statement said an autopsy carried out on the dog as part of the invesitgation conducted by garda and the ISPCA did not reveal any evidence that the dog was kicked to death.

"It was alleged that a number of youths were observed kicking the dog to death on Thursday," the statement said. "An autopsy on the animal has revealed that the dog died as a result of vehicle impact and there was no evidence of the dog having been kicked to death. A number of children aged 5 to 11 years were observed kicking the dog by a man who reported the matter to Gardai in Letterkenny."

It is understood Letterkenny Garda Station was inundated with calls from people reacting to the incident following the media coverage.

In his email to the media, the witness expressed his annoyance at what he described was the casual attitude of garda to the incident when he reported it.

Describing the events he witnessed, he said: "I watched in absolute horror three children delighted themselves in kicking and stamping a harmless puppy/ small dog to death on Long Lane.

"I was absolutely horrified by this. I am a 26-year-old young man and very little shocks or turns my stomach but this did. I immediately returned after securing my car to see that the dog had lived quite a while through the ordeal as it was bleeding from its head and mouth.

"This defenceless puppy had no way to defend itself, we can not and should not allow this type of behaviour to be allowed, as if this incident goes unreported and unpunished, these children will continue their evil deeds into adolescence and adult hood, into great forms of evil and crime, and eventually pass their sick notions on to their children."

Yesterday the man responded to the Garda statement on the Shaun Doherty Show on Highland Radio and said he was standing by his story. "As far as I am concerned whether the dog was hit by a car previously and there is every chance that the dog could have been alive.

"I find it very, very strange that the guards have reacted so speedily when the story has been put out but they would not react so quickly when just a normal member of the public would go out and ask them to."