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Man accused of cruelty to two dogs while under investigation over another dog’s death

A man has appeared in court charged with animal cruelty offences after two dogs were found dead, one of which had ingested illegal drugs.

It further emerged the accused is currently under investigation for the death of a third dog which was found with “horrific injuries”.

Liam Swift (22), from McCrea Park, Clogher is accused of causing unnecessary suffering to a dog on October 5, then another dog on November 12.

A police officer told Dungannon Magistrates’ Court the charges could be connected.

She explained Swift was arrested over a bail breach on November 11 and detained until the matter was in court two days later.

Because police knew he owned a dog they attended his home to ensure it had food and water.

Officers found faeces everywhere and when the dog didn’t appear, they began checking rooms.

The dog was discovered dead on a pile of rubbish in a cupboard, a chain tightly wrapped round its neck, cutting into the skin.

Results are awaited from veterinary examination.

On November 15 police learned there was a second dead dog hidden in a hedge near Swift’s home.

A search revealed the decomposing body of a small dog, wrapped in a blanket and placed in a bag.

This too was sent for examination.

Police spoke with Swift’s partner who confirmed the small dog was hers and she had brought it to his home on September 23 as she was staying with him.

She claims on October 5 another male arrived at the property and during this, Ecstasy tablets were produced which fell on the floor and her dog ingested them.

It became “hyper” then fell asleep, however she later noticed it was very wet and asked Swift if he had thrown water over it, which he denied.

The dog appeared unharmed and the partner left the house for a time.

She later received a call from Swift claiming he couldn’t waken the dog and it “was in a bad way”.

Upset, she asked him to do something to help but on return found it “cold and dead”.

She wrapped it in a blanket and both went outside to bury it but they had no shovel, so left it in the hedge.

Two weeks after the death of this dog the defendant purchased another dog but contacted his partner on November 10 claiming this dog had run away.

Objecting to bail, the officer cited risks of witness interference and reoffending as Swift “is unlikely to adhere to any bail conditions and has a significant history of breaching”.

The officer added: “These alleged offences were committed while he was already on bail for theft matters. This is the death of two dogs, killed inside a month and the third dog this year. There is already a live investigation over the death of another dog he allegedly killed in January. Its injuries were horrific.”

In addition: “The defendant appears to have a fair amount of control over his partner who is vulnerable. There has been a third-party report of domestic violence in the last few weeks when he was heard shouting and threatening her. His home address is unsuitable as it is uninhabitable and an environmental hazard. It’s covered in dog faeces; there’s no electricity and the front door is boarded up. The partner is now staying elsewhere.”

Refusing bail, District Judge Michael Ranaghan. said: “Clearly the defendant has very little respect for bail conditions or the court. There are vulnerability concerns about the partner. The primary ground for the court is not the distaste and disgust for what might have happened, but the legal test around managing risk.”

Swift will appear again by video-link on December 13.

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