Owner of one-eyed dog killed by Garda car was prosecuted

Kildare man summonsed to court over £507 worth of damage to car, 1986 files show

The owner of a one-eyed dog which was killed by a Garda car in Co Kildare was prosecuted, according to documents from the Attorney General's office.

The 1986 file, released to the National Archives, contained statements from the dog owner and from the gardaí involved, who were transporting a prisoner.

Garda John Blessing, then working in Garda headquarters, said he was driving toward Athy, at Fontstown Hill, on October 8th, 1985, when a dog crossing the road "doubled back". He said he was unable to avoid it.

Two gardaí were passengers in the car; one said he did not see what happened because he was “adjusting the handcuffs on the prisoner”. The other garda said at 10am a sheep dog came across the road, stopped in their lane and then made to go back from where it came.

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“The driver had no option but to drive straight ahead as there was another motor car coming in the opposite direction,” he said.

The Garda car, an Austin Montego, sustained damage to the front bumper, grille, radiator and headlamp, valued at £507 (€644).

Missing one eye

In his statement, Dick Joynt of Fontstown said he was the owner of a black-and-white collie “with brown markings on its face and missing one eye”. He said he let his dog outside the house on the morning in question and at about 10.30am a man called to his door.

“He said that he was a garda and that he was on his way to Kilkenny and that he had killed a dog on the road at the junction,” Mr Joynt said.

“I went up to the main road and I saw my dog dead on the road. I took him home and buried him.”

A note, dated June 10th, 1986, written by the principal solicitor at the AG’s office, said the Animal’s Act 1985 imposed a liability on the owner to take reasonable care to ensure damage was not caused by his animal “straying onto the public road”.

Proceedings were issued, the file showed, and Mr Joynt was due to appear in court on July 24th. There was no record of the outcome of the case.

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