Prisoner's dog to remain detained in kennel pending application for her destruction

Prisoner's Dog To Remain Detained In Kennel Pending Application For Her Destruction
A Mountjoy prisoner has failed to secure the release of his Belgian shepherd who was detained in a kennel after allegedly biting a garda.
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High Court reporters

A Mountjoy prisoner has failed to secure the release of his Belgian shepherd who was detained in a kennel after allegedly biting a garda.

The Court of Appeal ruled that Kevin O’Keeffe’s dog should not be released to the care of his cousin pending the rehearing of a garda’s District Court application seeking her destruction.


O’Keeffe was arrested at his home on January 17th, 2023, on foot of a bench warrant when, it is alleged, the dog attacked and bit one of the gardaí present. The dog, known as Cleo, was seized and placed in professionally operated kennels.

Meanwhile, O’Keeffe, of Oliver Bond Flats in Dublin 2, was in January 2023 sentenced at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to two and a half years imprisonment for damaging property contrary to section 2(1) of the Criminal Damage Act of 1991, with other charges taken into account.

A Garda member made a complaint to the District Court, under the Control of Dogs Act of 1986, alleging the dog is dangerous and not kept under proper control.

The District Court judge refused a request from O’Keeffe’s solicitor seeking an adjournment of the hearing, so O’Keeffe could attend. Instead, the court granted an order for the dog’s destruction in two days.


O’Keeffe brought an urgent High Court application seeking to overturn the District Court’s order.

The Commissioner said he would not oppose the District Court’s order being quashed, so the matter could be decided afresh by that court.

The High Court’s Ms Justice Niamh Hyland proposed that the dog should remain in detention pending the new decision. O’Keeffe refused to accept this, arguing the High Court had no authority to direct the animal’s detention where no proper order from the District Court exists.

Mr Justice Garrett Simons refused to release the dog into the case of O’Keeffe’s cousin, instead directing she should remain in the kennels while awaiting the District Court hearing.


The judge said the flaw in the case was that the dog’s seizure and detention was never challenged. Rather, the judicial review was directed exclusively to the fairness of the District Court hearing.


In a judgment published on Friday, Mr Justice Seamus Noonan dismissed O’Keeffe’s appeal against this decision.

The judge said O’Keeffe’s approach seems “somewhat difficult to rationalise” given he himself has been incarcerated throughout this time.

The High Court was “entirely correct” to impose the detention condition, Mr Justice Noonan said.


There is “at the very least significant prima facie evidence that this do is extremely dangerous and could represent a threat to public safety if released from its current confinement”, he added.

The Commissioner of An Garda Síochána’s lawyers submitted to the High Court a veterinary report last June which found the dog was extremely aggressive, lunging at the kennel gate and stripping her teeth with intent to harm. Her behaviour steadily disimproved and she was challenging kennel staff, it said.

The vet concluded she is a dangerous dog for whom prolonged confinement would not suit. He recommended euthanasia.

The kennel reported the dog attempted to attack and bite all of its carers daily.

Mr Justice Noonan’s ruling was supported by his colleagues Ms Justice Caroline Costello and Ms Justice Nuala Butler.

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