By Brion Hoban
A teenager who killed a dog by kicking it so hard it went above the head of their owner has been jailed for six months.
Josh Henney (19) twice kicked the dog in their underbelly while their owner was speaking with his mother.
Dublin Circuit Criminal Court heard that the dog, who was a cross between a Jack Russell Terrier and a Yorkshire Terrier, was named Sam and was approximately 10 months old at the time.
Henney of North William Street, Dublin City centre, pleaded guilty to killing a protected animal at his address on March 23, 2020.
He has 36 previous convictions and is currently serving a sentence of two years with the final six months suspended for an offence of violent disorder.
Garda Adam McGrane told Dara Hayes BL, prosecuting, that on the date in question, the injured party was on North William Street with her dog and was speaking with the Henney’s mother.
Gda McGrane said Henney was having an argument with his mother and was shouting from a window.
Henney then came out of the flat and told the injured party to “fuck off out of here and mind your own business”.
The garda said Henney told the woman that he would “fucking kill your dog”.
Henney then took a run up of around two metres and kicked the dog in their underbelly.
The dog was kicked so hard it went above the head their owner.
Henney walked away, then took a second run at the dog and kicked the dog again in their underbelly.
The dog’s breathing was laboured following the second kick and saliva with blood was coming from their mouth.
The dog, which could not walk or drink, was carried by their owner to a veterinary practice and was still alive upon arrival.
The dog was put under anaesthetic, but died while undergoing treatment.
The court heard that Dr Alan Wolfe, who performed the autopsy on the dog, found multiple fractures and fissures to the dog’s liver.
Dr Wolfe found all of the injuries were consistent with the dog dying of blood loss due to acute trauma.
Mr Hayes told the court that the injured party in the case has no children and told gardaí that the dog was like family to her and went with her wherever she went.
Gda McGrane agreed with Cathal McGreal BL, defending, that his client told gardaí he had lost his temper and did not really remember what happened.
He agreed the accused told gardaí he had not been able to sleep remembering the dog screaming and wished to apologise for what he did.
Mr McGreal said his client very much regrets what he did.
He said his client claims he never told the victim that he would kill the dog.
Counsel said his client’s father was shot in Malaga in front of Henney when he was aged 14.
He said that his client told a psychologist that the offence was a “horrible thing to do” and that he wants to get help so he does not do anything like that again.
Mr McGreal said his client’s mother smoked heroin and his client caught her doing so as a child.
He said the presence of the injured party was a “triggering factor” and that there was “a heroin taking relationship going on”.
Counsel said there is no gainsaying that what his client did but he is sorry for it and it haunts him.
Judge Melanie Greally said she does envisage extending Henney’s stay in prison due to the “despicable nature” of the offence. She said she can accept the offence was committed out of anger and he did not intend to kill the dog.
Today Judge Greally imposed a one year prison sentence with the final six months suspended on strict conditions including that Henney engage with the Probation Service for 12 months upon his release from prison.
This sentence is to be consecutive to the term he is currently serving for violent disorder.
She said the anger and aggression was carried out on the dog, when it was the dog’s owner that was “the subject of his anger”.
Judge Greally accepted that Henney was “extremely ashamed and remorseful for his actions” and has now expressed himself as young man who wants to live a normal life.
“He has a stable relationship and is applying himself well in prison,” she noted.
She acknowledged that the report prepared by the Probation Service concluded that Henney was a vulnerable young man who would benefit from probation supervision upon his release from prison.