HENRY Street gardai have confirmed they are investigating an incident of animal cruelty following a letter written to the Limerick Leader.
Gardai have taken possession of the letter and hope to speak with author, Ms Charlie Cassey, who has confirmed she will help in any way she can.
Ms Cassey, from College Court Drive in Castletroy, wrote about UL students having an exam party on a green area.
“As they gathered by the green, a small dog from the neighbourhood was drawn by the small, excited crowd. As cars drove up and down the road at a fast pace, the students teased the dog by throwing the ball from one side of the road to the other - the dog of course chasing the ball,” wrote Ms Cassey.
Her brother-in-law witnessed what happened. She wrote: “The students actually waited until a van was coming before playing this sick game until the inevitable happened – 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 spoke to the eye-witness this Wednesday, who didn’t wish to be named.
“I witnessed it, I wish I didn’t witness it,” he said, before adding that he has now reported the incident to gardai.
Gardai say they are investigating “an incident” but as it is an ongoing inquiry they refused to comment further.
A petition with over 2,000 signatories has been set up calling for those responsible to be expelled from campus and reported to the authorities.
ARAN, Ireland’s national animal rights group, has issued a reward of €3000 to anybody who can “provide information that will lead us to pressing charges against those responsible for the death of a young dog”.
Some have claimed there is no proof that the people involved were students. “There are only about eight houses in our road that are resident, we know who they are. The rest of the street is populated by students. If they are not students who are they? Maybe they are factory workers who move in in September, join in with RAG week, go quiet just before exams, have big parties after exams and then go on a long holiday,” said Ms Cassey.
UL has issued a lengthy statement saying any activity involving cruelty to animals is deplorable and should be subject to the full rigours of the law.
See the weekend editions of the Limerick Leader for more on this story, plus feedback from readers.
*UPDATE* The University of Limerick has issued a second statement in relation to this incident, carried in full here:
“The University of Limerick is unreservedly opposed to any form of animal cruelty and is fully committed to the implementation of the law relating to such despicable acts.
The University regrets the distress this reported incident has caused to many people who have been upset by what has been reported. The University community shares their concern that a dog could be mistreated in such a manner leading to its death.
The reported incident did not take place on the University campus. It occurred in a private housing estate that is not on University grounds.
The University was the first to report this matter to the Gardai (Irish police) and to request that this be investigated.
As yet there are no precise details of the incident, there is no verified proof of the identity of those involved and no confirmation that they are students of the University.
If it is established that students were involved they will be subject to a formal disciplinary process where the penalties include suspension and expulsion from the University.
The University has sought to contact the person who highlighted this issue and she has not yet responded to our request for information that may allow our investigations to be progressed.
The University is continuing to work closely with the Gardai and to encourage anyone with information to report the matter to the relevant authorities.
The University is working with the UL Students’ Union to identify any students who may have participated in this incident so that any possible student involvement can be reviewed under the Code of Conduct and any disciplinary action can be initiated.
The University will continue to investigate this matter until anyone involved is identified and appropriately sanctioned by the University and the Gardai.
The University unambiguously condemns any act of animal cruelty and will continue to do all in its power to prevent such acts.
The University regrets any negative impact that these allegations have had on the wider community as well as on our students, alumni and staff.”