A man accused of burying a dog under rubble has been released from prison on bail despite being deemed “at risk” of being targeted by the general public. Peter Toland, 29, appeared at Dungannon Magistrates’ Court on Saturday, March 18, charged with causing unnecessary suffering to a dog and four counts of failing to take reasonable steps to ensure the needs of an animal. He was then released on bail to a police-approved property in Derry, following warnings that he was a “flight risk”, and that staying at home would place him “at risk” as he is known to the public.
Mr Toland, of Cornshell Fields, was arrested following an investigation into the condition of a dog discovered buried under rubble in a local park.
The court heard that a member of the public found a female dog in an “extremely poor state” in the Ballyarnett Country Park.
The dog had suffered “multiple punctures” to its nose and head and was covered in bite marks, and had a collapsed abdomen.
Vets decided to euthanise the dog, who appeared to have given birth to multiple litters, as she was not responding to treatment.
They told police she was subjected to “extreme cruelty”.
Public knowledge of Mr Toland’s arrest in connection with the dog led to violent retribution from the general public.
The court heard that people had attacked his home, smashing the property’s windows.
A barrister acting in Mr Toland’s defence said the defendant denies any knowledge of injuries to the dog.
He was released on a £1,000 bond and taken to a property approved by police until his trial.
He must now wear an electronic tag and abide by a strict 11pm to 7am curfew.
His bail conditions also require him to register with police three times a week and cannot spend time alone with animals unsupervised.
Judges have warned the public to remain calm following the initial attacks.
District Judge Michael Ranaghan said defendants charged with a crime are “entitled to the presumption of bail and innocence”.
Mr Toland is due to appear again at Derry Magistrates’ Court in April.