€10,000 compensation payment ordered after dogs kill Donegal farmer's pedigree sheep

Gerry Mc Laughlin


Gerry Mc Laughlin


€10,000 compensation payment ordered after dogs kill Donegal farmer's pedigree sheep

A man has been ordered to pay €10,000 compensation to a sheep farmer by September 4, after his two Alsatian dogs killed three pedigree sheep belonging to the farmer, Donegal District Court was told.

Judge Kevin Kilrane described the killing of the sheep at the farm of sheep and beef farmer Seamus Thomas at Tulywee, Laghey on March 11 last year as an “appalling sight” and would cause “shock, hurt and upset hugely to any farmer”.

56-year-old Gregory McGroary, Carrick East, Laghey, who was not in court, pleaded guilty to having no dog licence and being the owner of a dog worrying sheep.

The judge also noted that eight years ago, a similar incident happened with the same injured party.

Judge Kilrane added that the defendant was not in court but he should “man up” and he did not speak directly to the injured party or sit down with him and talk compensation 

“He should be here, he sent his son and his wife to speak on the phone with the victim," the judge sated.

Injured party Seamus Thomas told the court that the defendant rang him on March 11 to say that one of the defendant’s dogs had attacked sheep at the injured party’s farm in Laghey. The defendant said one of the sheep was badly injured and he had called the vet.

When Mr Thomas arrived at the scene, he met a veterinary surgeon and the defendant’s son and the vet told him he had put one of his rams down. The vet said one of the pregnant ewes had been killed as well and he would come back to treat the rest of the pregnant ewes. The remaining rams were brought back to the injured party’s farm   

The defendant did not turn up but sent his wife instead, the court heard.

Mr Thomas added that three of his pregnant ewes had aborted and did not thrive too well as they were very distressed. He said the third ram did not thrive either and he was infertile.

The injured party said a solicitor for the defendant had offered €7000 in compensation, but the injured party estimated that he would need €10,000 in compensation.

In evidence under re-examination from prosecuting sergeant Oliver Devaney, the witness said one of the rams cost him €4000 and that one of the attacked sheep, was found dead in a drain.

Under cross-examination from defence solicitor John Murray, the witness said he had been renting the land in Laghey for 25 years and his sheep had been worried by dogs belonging to the defendant on a previous occasion eight years ago and compensation had been paid on that occasion.

Defence solicitor John Murray said the two dogs escaped from the defendant’s residence when the automatic gates were briefly opened during a 30 second delay.

The defendant went looking for the dogs as soon as he became aware and reported the matter to the gardai when he found the result of what happened. He had got rid of the dogs by sending them to a Trust in London. The defendant would now have to deal with the devastation and was attempting to deal with it.

In sentencing, Judge Kilrane said the defendant had two unlicensed Alsatian dogs which says something about his “lack of responsibility”. The judge said there was a “huge onus” to keep the two Alsatians under control at all times.

He added that apart from the financial loss and the damage done to the pregnant ewes, it was an “appalling sight" for any farmer to see. “It would shock and worry any farmer hugely,” he said.

In adjourning the case to September 4, the judge said that €10,000 compensation must be paid by that date.

He added that the whereabouts of the dogs needed to be established via a tracking system to ensure they were not in the jurisdiction and if they were, they “need to be destroyed”.