Court told of ‘horrific dog attack’

Ballymena Courthouse. INBT02-213AC
Ballymena Courthouse. INBT02-213AC

A woman has told of her heartbreak after her beloved pet dog ‘Misty’, a small Pomeranian-cross, was killed by a larger Staffordshire Bull Terrier called ‘Thunder’ on a street in Ballymena.

Doris Stewart from Lettercreeve in the town was speaking outside Ballymena Magistrates Court on Thursday where Thunder’s owner was fined £500 after being found guilty of a charge of being the keeper of a dog ‘which attacked and fatally injured another animal belonging to another person’.

The owner of the dog, Victoria Beagan (28), whose address was given as Larne Street, Ballymena, was not present in court as she is currently serving a jail sentence for an unrelated matter and is not due for release until October 18.

‘Misty’ was killed at Ballymena’s Antrim Road on November 4 last year as it was being walked by a friend of Ms Stewart’s.

Beagan had contested the charge but was found guilty by District Judge Peter King after he read the papers in the case.

A prosecutor said it was an “horrific” attack.

Defence solicitor John McAtamney said the defendant had recently bought the dog and was “unaware of its strength”.

He said there had been no further incidents.

Judge King said pictures of the deceased dog underlined his lack of sentencing powers in dealing with such a case.

He said the circumstances were “unhappy” and nobody should have to endure witnessing such a fatal attack.

And he said he could “only imagine” what Misty’s owner had gone through as a result of the attack.

Judge King said it had already been agreed that ‘Thunder’ would be muzzled.

As well as fining Beagan £500, he also ordered to pay court and professional costs of £134.

Outside court, Doris Stewart (56), her eyes filling with tears, explained that she was heartbroken that her beloved ‘Misty’ was killed after stopping “to answer the call of nature” as she was being walked by a friend.

“Misty was my wee soulmate but that day I had to go away and a friend was looking after her for me.

“The dog stopped to answer the call of nature and the next thing the other big dog came bolting across and had her by the neck. Other people tried to get the dog off but there was nothing they could do once the jaws were locked on.”

Doris said attempts were made to ensure she did not the see how terribly ‘Misty’ had been hurt.

“They wouldn’t even let me see the photos of her injuries, they were that bad,” she said.

Doris added that she intends that ‘Misty’ will continue to be central in her home.

“Because of the court proceedings the Council had to hold onto Misty but now I can get her back and intend to cremate her and keep her on my fireplace in the centre of my home where she played such a big part in my life.

“She was the loveliest, friendliest, wee dog and everybody loved her,” said Doris