Meet the pet owner who had his dog put down rather than face an embarrassing barking case in court
It’s about the pet owner who had her ‘German Shepherd’ dog put down rather than face claims in court she had allowed him to bark for 11 years.
Eraldine O’Loughlin’s house in Ballycoree, on Gort Road in Ennis, County Clare, is located in front of the property of neighbor Shane Shannon.
Ennis District Court heard this week how O’Loughlin’s dog’s barking would continue throughout the day “for periods of two and a half hours at a time”.
And that when Shane tried to raise his concerns about barking with Ms O’Loughlin, she told her ‘that’s what dogs do. Of course what harm is there’.
Mr Shannon told the court: ‘She laughed in my face.
O’Loughlin did not appear in court to defend against an order to surrender the animal this week after emailing the court clerk to say she would not show up “because the animal had been shot.”
We called O’Loughlin’s house on Friday to see if she would tell us about the crazy barking controversy.
But O’Loughlin gave our reporter few opportunities to ask his questions.
“There are two sides to every story,” she said after our reporter identified himself.
But when asked what her side was, she closed the door in his face.
Shane Shannon, who declined to be photographed for this story, told The Sunday World he was devastated when he heard O’Loughlin had shot the dog.
But, he said, now, for the first time in 11 years of living on the property, he has been able to step out into his garden and enjoy the peace and quiet.
“Do you hear that?” he asked… as he stood in his garden.
“It’s the sound of nothing – the first time in 11 years that I have been able to stand outside in my garden and not listen to this poor animal barking.
“And that’s only because I went to court to stop all the noise.”
When asked how bad the noise was, Shane said: “The duration of the barking can last all day.
“So you’re talking from 7 a.m. or 8 a.m. … you’d have a one-hour burst here or there, and then you’d have a two-and-a-half-hour burst.
“This dog barked as much as he had energy to bark.
“He would literally wear himself out, then he would start again.
“I played some of the clips on the pitch and even on the pitch they could hear how strong he was because he was such a big dog.”
Shane, who moved in next door to O’Loughlin 11 years ago, told The Sunday World that initially he was not bothered by the barking of dogs as he spent so much time away from home.
“I worked a lot outside.
“I worked with the Marine Institute in Galway and was often at sea and by the time I got home in the evening I was so busy I didn’t even notice.
“But I changed my lifestyle after lockdown and developed horticulture as my new thing and so I was spending a lot more time at home.”
When asked how many times he’d approached O’Loughlin about the dog, Shane said a few before adding, “Listen, I’m a very patient man.
“I went through chemotherapy for a year and while I was here at home I had to listen to the dog barking nonstop.
“And it was at the end of chemotherapy and recovery that I went to explain the situation to him.
“And basically it just kept going on and on.
“So basically four times I went to talk about the dog.
“And to be honest, I didn’t do anything.
“The reaction was belligerence, an attitude of what serious?
“I explained that I had undergone chemotherapy and had to listen to this dog every day in recovery, but nothing – I was in tears at times.”
Shane said one of the things that bothered him the most about barking was that he believed the animal was barking because it wanted or needed something. but whatever it was, it just wasn’t given to him.
“I was very angry for the dog while all of this was going on,” he said.
“I would never have wanted or asked for the animal to be put down.
“I love animals and have worked with animals all my life.
“Among other things, I am a marine biologist.
“But the dog was missing something…and he just wasn’t given what he needed.
“I would have even taken this dog…he was an old dog…it wouldn’t have been a long commitment.
“He deserved to have a good home
“The dog’s life was somehow missing,” Mr Shannon said.
In Ennis District Court this week, despite O’Loughlin’s email saying the animal had been put down, Judge Mary Larkin ordered him to deliver his ‘German Shepherd-like’ dog to the Dog Warden.
Judge Larkin made the order under a little-known provision of the Dog Control Act 1986 where a judge can make an order requiring the removal of a nuisance caused by the “excessive barking” of a dog. an “unwanted dog”.
Early in the case, Judge Larkin said the court clerk had received an email from Ms O’Loughlin saying she would not come to court because the dog had been put down.
However, Shane Shannon said he would prefer to pursue the matter saying: “I don’t trust anything she says”.
Shane told the court the dog met the definition of a ‘unwanted dog’ under the law, saying the dog ‘doesn’t have a lot of affection and I’d say he’s lonely and we’re not s don’t take care of him”.
He said: “To be honest, it’s extremely upsetting to listen to an animal like that. He’s fed twice a day, when the food is thrown at him through the back door. I never hear anyone playing with the dog or say hello to the dog.”
Mr Shannon said the dog had never been taken outside the garden in the past 11 years and had never been brought home.
Asked by Judge Larkin about the name of the dog, Mr Shannon said: ‘I never heard the dog called by its name or heard anyone being nice to the dog.
Speaking to the Sunday World, Shane said he was speaking out because he believed there were probably hundreds of landlords across the country trapped in situations identical to his.
“I just want people to know that there is a simple and easy mechanism to deal with a situation like this.”
Asked about the state of relations with O’Loughlin following the affair, he replied: “There isn’t, which I’m quite happy with…and you can quote me on that.”
Download the Sunday World app
Download now the free app for all the latest Sunday world news, crime, Irish showbiz and sport. Available on Apple and Android devices