Galway man avoids jail for threatening to shoot dog owner

A Galway man who pulled out a firearm and threatened to shoot a dog owner after their dogs became entangled has avoided a jail term.

The court heard that Henry Bryan (aged 52) was out walking his dog Snowy when a dog named Storm ran out of a nearby house and over to Bryan's dog.

Garda Michael Ryan told Tom Neville BL, prosecuting, that Snowy pounced on Storm and Bryan became aggressive and began cursing at Storm’s owner.

He said that her dog should be on a leash and said: "I'm gonna burn your house down. I'm gonna kneecap you."

When her partner came out of their house to see what was wrong Bryan pulled out an imitation gun and pointed it at the man. He repeatedly told him: "I'm gonna blow your head off".

Three days later Bryan, who suffers from depression, also threatened to shoot a bar manager and burn down his house because he was annoyed that he was barred from the premises.

Bryan of Sea Road, Galway City pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to criminal damage and making a threat to kill at the Horse and Hound pub, Harmonstown Road, Dublin on October 16, 2012.

He also admitted unlawful possession of a realistic looking firearm at Ribh Avenue, Harmonstown Road on October 13, 2012.

Judge Martin Nolan suspended a sentence of three years on condition that Bryan keeps the peace for three years.

He had previously adjourned the sentencing and jailed Bryan for two weeks so that he could “reflect on his future”.

The judge was shown a photograph of Bryan’s dog. He commented that the dog seemed to reflect the temperament of the owner.

Gda Ryan told Mr Neville that Storm’s owner was frightened by the incident and didn't know the gun was a child's air pistol. Bryan said that a woman had given the pistol to him after somebody had damaged the caravan he was living in at the time.

Garda Laura Nulty said three days after this incident Bryan came into the Horse and Hound pub wearing pyjama bottoms and screaming and shouting.

Bryan told the bar manager Gary Kane: "See you're dead. I'm gonna kill you and burn down your house."

Luigi Rea, BL, defending, said Bryan had been involved in a fight with another customer the night before and this other man had gotten the upper hand.

Bryan told gardaí: "I felt I was the victim. I was barred. He wasn't."

Mr Rea handed in a psychiatric report which diagnosed the father of five as having a major depressive disorder. He said his client’s ten-year relationship with a woman had just ended at the time of these offences and he was under strain.

Bryan moved to Galway ten years ago and had returned to his native Harmonstown around that time. He has since returned to live in Galway where he is involved in the production of small films and plays.

Judge Nolan said Bryan has led an interesting and tough life. He noted that references handed into court showed that there are people who "think the world of" Bryan.

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