THE story involving an allegation of animal cruelty against University of Limerick students, leading to the death of a dog and a huge national reaction, has taken a new twist.
Amid ongoing controversy, the Limerick Leader has received a detailed letter from a student who says he or she witnessed the dog’s death at College Court, close to UL in Castletroy.
The letter is unsigned, but it has also been sent to Adam Moursy, president of the UL Students’ Union, who has confirmed today that he stands over its authenticity and wishes to see it published.
This letter follows the one published in the Limerick Leader two weeks ago and written by Ms Charlie Cassey. Acting on information given to her by her brother-in-law, who has since contacted gardai, she alleged that the students lured a small dog to its death by teasing it while it was chasing a ball.
“The students actually waited until a van was passing before playing this sick game until the inevitable happened,” she wrote. “The little dog went under the wheels of the van, which drove over him. Did the students feel remorse after this disgusting act? No. As the dog lay dying in agony, the students laughed and jeered at my brother in law, as he roared and scolded them.”
The Limerick Leader was today contacted by the family that owned the dog, a four-month-old Jack Russell miniature called Rosie. Their story will be published in our Monday edition.
The mother of the 16-year-old boy who owned Rosie says the family were “devastated” by her death. She spoke to gardai on the day and says she now intends to pursue the matter further by calling to Henry Street garda station.
The following is the letter received by this newspaper.
I am writing to you as a student of the University of Limerick seeking for the dark shroud of guilt to be removed off an unfortunate group of young folk who were present in Castletroy a few weeks back.
In light of a recent article that was published on June 2 to June 4 in which a dog was ‘lured’ to its death by ‘drunken’ students gaining entertainment off the death of an unattended animal.
I was present on the date of May 19 in College Court. Against advice from some family members and friends I have decided to act and clear the names of the innocent students involved in this complete accident. My reply, I hope, has not come out too late to safe grace in this matter. On first terms I was advised to not own up to my presence in the area that afternoon and to allow this fully false fib of a story to wear out.
But I couldn’t in all honesty. To think the students of the area were being branded in this sort of fashion and to think that my friends and I were ‘drunk’ and behaving in this way. This article was printed, with not one fact proving correct, only that yes we had just finished our exams.
And so after feeling hurt and sickened at a local woman making up a farce of a story in order for the students of the area to come under siege with harsh comments the true events of the day in question are below.
“We were present outside our house in the afternoon. There was a group of us, lads and girls, which numbered about 10 to 15. We were preparing to depart within the hour, hence the large so call ‘excited’ group. A ball was taken from inside one of the houses and as people of our age who play sport we simply kicked it round. The dog, small in stature, had come over to us, from where I don’t know.
The dog was petted, like any human with a heart would do, but he/she took more interest in the ball.
There is a lamp post present in the green in College Court, challenging ourselves we were aiming to hit the pole. Sounds stupid I know. The dog did follow the ball on occasions across the, at the time, quiet estate road. We were both sides of the road, on the green, and near one of our houses. One of the lads kicked the ball, it struck the lamp post, and we did cheer as one would in the circumstances. The dog had chased out after the ball without us realising and as the ball bounced several times the dog stayed in the middle of the road only to be struck by a small blue transit van..
It yelped to our shock [and] ran off the road and back in our direction. I personally went straight to its aid but it was dead within a minute. As a group we felt very remorseful and upset but what could we do. The dog’s collar, purple in collar, contained no number or identification. We were in utter despair, the site of a small dead dog near our house was something we never saw happening and truly darkened what was for all supposed to be an upbeat day.
For the record also, the van driver did not stop. I myself walked down the estate to see was he returning but there was no sign that he was. Also, we were not approached by a man or woman, no person ‘roared or ‘scolded’ at us.
Between 1 to 2pm, the time of the incident, not one member of the group in question was under the influence of alcohol. I myself was preparing to head on a long journey home, so by law I ensured I was safe to do so. My fellow college mates were about to do like wise.
After the altercation, I ask, what were our options?
Look for the dog’s owner? We did not know where the unattended animal had come from, its collar contained no hint of ownership to anyone.
Call a vet? The dog was dead within minutes and was it our responsibility to do so?
Bury the animal? Yes, I’m sure it would have looked normal for a group of students to be seen disposing of a dog’s body in an urban area during the day.
I question Ms Cassey and her brother in law. Where were they situated during this so called sick game? Why didn’t they question who hit the dog and kept driving? If a group of students were acting anti-socially, why not call the gardai immediately? Why did she wait weeks to alert people to this? Why is she attempting to turn common folk against students in the area just because one group of them was present when an innocent pet was killed?
I wrote this letter anonymously not because I feel guilt but I don’t feel it wise to do so since the story has received such press. Also the article made me feel astonished as to how a story can be twisted in order to make it controversial. The people present on the day in question share my shock, they feel stunned at how a local woman can attempt to make an attack on the reputation of the students of the university. We had to set the story straight before it went any more out of control.
I ask that this be pubished in your paper, to clear this matter up. People need to hear the truth.
University of Limerick student