A Lurgan man who threatened to kill his wife’s dog after she told him she was going out to celebrate a birthday has been told to give up drinking.
Gary Cranston, of Thornhill Park, appeared at Craigavon Magistrates’ Court on Friday in breach of a two year restraining order which prevented him from coming into contact with his wife.
The 59-year-old appeared, via videolink from Antrim Custody, having been arrested the previous evening following a report made by his wife.
The prosecution outlined how the injured party told her husband that she was going out to celebrate a birthday which is when Cranston threatened to kill the dog, leaving his wife “in a distressed state”.
Police arrived and took him to Antrim Custody where he responded no comment during interview.
District Judge Bernie Kelly queried if the pair were living together, which was confirmed by both defence and prosecution, who said there were approximately four weeks to run on what was a two-year restraining order.
The judge asked: “Where does the poor dog rank in the middle of this…who threatens to kill an animal?”
Defence solicitor Conor Lunny said: “It’s beyond ill-advised – it’s nasty and it was done clearly with a view of upsetting her and he accepts that now in the cold, sober light of day because this was done in the context of him having taken a drink.”
District Judge Kelly quipped: “I like your euphemism with the use of a – as in singular – I suspect it was more than one drink.”
Mr Lunny added: “His recollection is fairly hazy and, for what it’s worth, he instructs that he wouldn’t have made that decision to so threaten [the dog] were he completely sober. He wasn’t sober and he’s living to regret it, having spent a night in cells, which has been a chastening experience.”
District Judge Kelly said there was an “alcohol theme running through his record and here it is again”.
“This is a serious enough matter, of that there is no doubt. To threaten to kill this lady’s dog, aside from the upset that that would have undoubtedly caused her; what does that show about your thoughts towards a poor innocent animal, the vast majority of whom have no way of defending themselves, particularly the pet variety who do not have any natural acquired responses to threats and levels of violence?”
Mr Lunny informed the district judge that Cranston “never had any intention to carry out that threat; he did it simply to annoy the partner”.
District Judge Kelly continued: “Those seeds have to be sown somewhere; nobody comes out with that statement unless the thought has brewed in their head firstly.
“You should actually think about the fact that every entry in that record, and now this new one, are all alcohol-fuelled. That should maybe tell you something about alcohol and getting you into trouble. Maybe the most obvious way of avoiding trouble would be to stop drinking.”
Imposing a £400 fine, but not allowing the full 26 weeks – usually afforded to those on benefits – to pay, District Judge Kelly, said: “I’m going to take his drinking money. He can use the drinking money to pay that £400.”
Cranston was given 12 weeks to pay.