Man jailed for assaulting girlfriend and her pet

Derry's Courthouse on Bishop Street. 3003JM66
Derry's Courthouse on Bishop Street. 3003JM66

An ‘animal lover’ who assaulted his girlfriend and caused unnecessary suffering to her pet Chihuahua has been jailed for four months.

John McGinley, of Bonds Hill, pleaded guilty to common assault, causing unnecessary suffering to animals, assaulting and resisting police.

He also admitted taking a motor vehicle without authority and having no licence or insurance.

The charges relate to an incident on October 1.

Derry Magistrates Court heard the 43-year-old went to the woman’s house and was ‘roaring and shouting and banging at the door’.

He pushed past the injured party, grabbed her dog and hit the woman on the back of the head.

During the incident McGinley twisted to dog by it’s neck and swung the Chihuahua round his head.

The 43-year-old also threatened to kill the Chihuahua.

He also threw the pet between six and eight feet across the room, causing it to land on a sofa.

When the injured party went to check on her dog, the 43-year-old assaulted her again.

The court heard he then took her car keys and drove off in her car.

McGinley later crashed the car in the Republic of Ireland and received a suspended sentence for motoring offences.

During his arrest, McGinley violently resisted police and struck an officer on the chest.

Defence counsel Nicola Rountree told the court it was a ‘very unsavoury incident’.

She said the dog ‘got caught in the cross fire’ in a domestic incident where emotions were running high.

The barrister said her client is an ‘animal lover’ who had owned a dog before he was remanded in custody.

Ms Rountree said the dog has since been rehomed and McGinley may not be allowed to own a dog again in the future as a result of this conviction.

She added that her client is still in a relationship with the injured party and she has been visiting him in prison.

Jailing the 43-year-old. Deputy District Judge Oonagh Mullan said this was an ‘extremely unsavoury incident’.

She said the incident with the dog was an ‘extremely cruel act’.

The judge also fined McGinley £250.