Man jailed for killing his dog with hammer after it attacked child

Court in Belfast hears Wayne McGrath inflicted ‘unimaginable pain’ on his pet

Laganside Crown Court File image: Google Street View The court heard Wayne McGrath told police he had received threats to his life and was under pressure to dispose of the dog.

Laganside Crown Court File image: Google Street View The court heard Wayne McGrath told police he had received threats to his life and was under pressure to dispose of the dog.

 

A man who bludgeoned his dog to death with a hammer and burnt the remains after it mauled an eight-year-old girl has been jailed for four months.

Belfast Magistrates’ Court heard Wayne McGrath inflicted “unimaginable pain” on the American Bulldog-type dog which left the child scarred and traumatised.

The 47-year-old, of Marsden Gardens in Belfast, was also banned from keeping any animals for life. His lawyer described it as one of the worst cases of its kind ever dealt with in Northern Ireland.

McGrath admitted charges of being the keeper of a dog involved in an attack, and causing it unnecessary suffering.

The girl was mauled while the dog was off the lead at Kinnaird Avenue, north Belfast in May last year. Witnesses described seeing it drag her by the hair.

McGrath and another man started punching and kicking the dog in a bid to break its hold. They eventually managed to get it away from the girl, who was led to the safety of a car.

The child was taken to hospital for treatment to a puncture mark to her head and a further 15 wounds, bites or slashes to her body, the court heard.

Police questioned McGrath at the scene, before taking him and the dog back to his partner’s house. The next day officers checked to see if he had handed the animal over to the dog warden to be humanely destroyed. He then confessed to killing it with a hammer and burning the body.

The court heard McGrath told police he had received threats to his life and was under pressure to dispose of the dog.

District Judge George Conner jailed McGrath for four months.

He declined to order compensation to the victim, deciding that any payment he could direct would be “a drop in the ocean” compared to the damage inflicted.

McGrath was released on bail pending an appeal.