Dogs Behaving Badly, 1952-1956

From the Evening Echo, 9 March 1956:



A dog with an aversion to members of the Gardai, but with the wisdom to leave the jurisdiction of the Court before his case came up for hearing, was mentioned in the Cork District Court to-day.

Garda McSweeney related that when he was cycling past the house of Margaret O’Mahony, Ballycurren, Kinsale Road, this dog rushed out to the road and tried to bite his legs, almost knocking him off his bicycle.

The owner came out of her house with a brush and tried to get the dog to go back to the house.

‘This,’ said Garda McSweeney ‘has happened to me before and to others as well.  I cautioned the defendant before to keep her dog under the control.”

Inspector McGann asked the Justice to make an order for the destruction of the dog.

Defending her pet, the defendant said he only ran after bicycles.  He did not bite people.

Then she added: ‘The extraordinary thing is that he followed my niece out to Blarney the other day and has not come back since.”

Inspector McGann commented the dog must have known about the summons and the jurisdiction of the court.”

Meanwhile, in the Westmeath Independent, 13 September 1952:


‘The setter was stupid and the pointer attempted to get up three times and fell on each occasion,’ stated Garda Inspector P Pender telling Justice D.F. Gleeson, Murroe (Co Limerick) Court, of the first time in his life that he saw dogs drunk.

Inspector Pender was giving evidence when John Fahey, Gannavane, Cappamore, was charged with being in illegal possession of 21 gallons of “wash”.

The Inspector said that in a search for poteen on June 13, with Guards Burke and Tagney he found a barrel of “wash” in Fahey’s garden hidden under trees and covered with a sack.

There was a path from Fahey’s house to the barrel and the odour one would expect in a licensed premises. 

When he went to tell Fahey of his ‘find,’ the Inspector continued, he saw a setter in the outhouse and a pointer in the kitchen; the setter was ‘stupid’ and the pointer attempted to get up three times and fell on each occasion.

Fahey, who denied at first that there was any illicit spirit on his land or in his house, admitted then that the liquid in the barrel had been fermenting for three days.

‘To tell you the truth,’ said Fahey, ‘it is seven years since I made it last.’

Mr C.M. Tynan, solicitor for the defendant, said he was not in a position to prove that the liquid was not ‘wash,’ but the prosecution had failed to show that Fahey had not a licence.  He was asking for an acquittal.

Supt. O’Riordan held that the prosecution had established without doubt that the liquid was ‘wash.’ He didn’t think it necessary to bring an officer from the Department to prove that Fahey had no licence.

Judge Gleeson said that he was not certain whether the prosecution should provide evidence that defendant was not lawfully authorised to have the liquid, or whether the onus lay with the defendant to prove that he was entitled to have it.  He would adjourn the case until Friday in Limerick City Court.”

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Author: Ruth Cannon BL

Irish barrister sharing the history of the Four Courts, Dublin, Ireland, and other Irish courts.

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