Guilty plea after dog attack on Limerick toddler

David Hurley

Reporter:

David Hurley

Abbie Cuddihy, who was attacked by the dog last year, with Anthony Johnston and and Donna Cuddihy. Below, the wounds left by the attack. Pictures: Press 22
THE owner of a dangerous dog which attacked a young girl while she was playing near her Limerick home has admitted to not having the canine under control.

THE owner of a dangerous dog which attacked a young girl while she was playing near her Limerick home has admitted to not having the canine under control.

Six-year-old Abbie Cuddihy sustained serious wounds to her head and shoulder when the dog - an American Akita - “turned on her” during an incident on March 13, 2014.

Limerick District Court was told the attack happened at Lynwood Park, Ballysimon at around 6.30pm.

The owner of the dog - Eric McSweeney, aged 29, of St Patrick’s Road - has pleaded guilty to three charges relating to the incident.

Garda Neil O’Gorman said the dog, which weighed 60kgs, was not on a leash, was not muzzled and was not licenced on the date of the offence.

“He wasn’t under any supervision, he was roaming freely,” said Garda O’Gorman.

He told Judge Marian O’Leary the young girl was treated at University Hospital Limerick following the incident and that she was not discharged until two days later.

“She was very distressed and upset,” he said.

Abbie received 17 stitches to the side of her head and will have permanent scarring as a result of what happened. The court was told the dog was known in the locality and that the incident happened after Abbie went to pat him.

“She patted him and he growled and when she patted him a second time he turned on her,” he said.

Sergeant Donal Cronin said American Akita dogs are a restricted breed in Ireland and are subject to strict conditions. They must be muzzled and placed on a leash when in public and they must be controlled by their owners.

The court was told that after being informed of the incident, gardai called to the home of the defendant who initially refused to accept that the dog had attacked a child.

Garda O’Gorman said he later admitted that he was owner and that it was not licensed at the time.

It was also established by gardai that Limerick City Council had received a number of complaints about the dog prior in the months to the incident.

Judge O’Leary was informed the dog was destroyed by a local vet the day after it attacked the young girl.

Mr McSweeney will be sentenced later this week once certain legal matters are clarified.