Man pleads guilty after attacking his mother and repeatedly stabbing her pet pug in Co Clare

Woman tells court she would be grateful to see her son ‘get treatment rather than prison time’ as he was having a ‘psychotic episode’

Ennis court house, google street view

A man who repeatedly stabbed his mother’s “beloved” pug dog has pleaded guilty to an animal cruelty charge.

Ennis Circuit Court heard that the 10-year-old dog, named Benson, was brought to a vet but had to be euthanised following the knife attack by Jason Burke, of Cnoc na Scoile, Kilrush Road, Ennis, on July 11th last. Mr Burke has also pleaded guilty to the assault causing harm to his mother on the same date.

Garda Conor Langan told the court that Mr Burke stabbed Benson seven times in the neck and back. He said that when he arrived at Summerhill Veterinary Clinic he noticed “blood spatters on Mr Burke’s face” and that the accused’s mother “had bruising and swelling to her face”. He said gardaí recovered a large 25cm knife and a smaller 7cm flick knife from Mr Burke’s bag.

In a statement to gardaí, Mr Burke’s mother said the accused had earlier that day turned on her, grabbed her by the hair and arms and thrown her around like a rag doll. She said Benson started barking and her son picked the pug up and threw him over the banister. She said he told her ”I am going to kill Benson”.


The woman said Mr Burke then ran downstairs, called the dog and proceeded to stab him after finding where he was hiding.

Lorcan Connolly BL, prosecuting, said the woman described the event as “traumatic” as Benson was her “beloved dog”.

In a victim impact statement, the woman told Judge Francis Comerford that she recognised that her son was having a “psychotic episode” and she now forgives him. She said she would be grateful to see her son “get treatment rather than prison time”.

Mr Burke also pleaded guilty to having a sharply pointed knife in his possession, contrary to the Firearms and Offensive Weapons Act 1990, the veterinary clinic. He has 11 previous convictions, has a history of mental illness and previously lived in Shannon, the court heard.

Aaron Desmond BL, for Mr Burke, said his client entered early guilty pleas and that a psychiatric report, which would form part of his plea of mitigation, was not yet ready. Judge Comerford further remanded Mr Burke in custody for sentencing in July.

Gordon Deegan

Gordon Deegan

Gordon Deegan is a contributor to The Irish Times