A judge has ordered that a Dublin man's two German Shepherds be destroyed after a court heard the unmuzzled and unleashed dogs "viciously" attacked a neighbour.
Fingal County Council brought a case under the Control of Dogs Act against Khalid Hamdy of Cedar View, Ridgewood Swords.
PTSD from Egyptian detention
He told Dublin District Court he did not believe his pets were dangerous. He also said they helped him cope with post-traumatic stress disorder he had suffered since being incarcerated in 2019 in Egypt with 150 men in a cell where he witnessed torture and four people die.
But neighbour Michael James O'Rourke told the court that on November 13th he had just left his house to bring his two smaller dogs on a walk when Hamdy's German Shepherds attacked them.
He told solicitor Michael Quinlan for the council that they were unmuzzled and unleashed.
He said it lasted 20 – 30 seconds, but he did not suffer physical injuries. However, he described it as a very traumatic event, adding that it was lucky children were no children in the vicinity.
He said one Lucky, one of his dog's had its harness ripped, and Mr O'Rourke added that his jeans were ripped before he managed to get back inside.
In cross-examination, he replied, "I do not know the man," when asked if he had altercations with him in the past.
Another couple told the court they witnessed it and claimed Hamdy's dogs had repeatedly gone into their garden after a storm knocked down fencing previously.
The court heard that after complaints, gardaí found the door to Hamdy's home was open, and no one came out for 20 minutes.
However, he did not see what happened and told gardaí that the dogs must have opened the front door to get out. Later, he claimed there had been a break-in at his home, which caused the German Shepherds to escape.
Hamdy said he reported it to gardai when he noticed damage to his door and objects missing from his house.
He also denied claims by the witnesses that there had been problems with his dogs in the past.
The dog warden seized them on the day of the incident and had them in a pound since then.
Hamdy told the court he had undergone training to handle them, and there was zero chance they get out again.
Describing it as a "very difficult case", Judge Anthony Halpin said he would deal with the case clinically, bearing little attention to the interpersonal issue between Mr Hamdy and his neighbour Mr O'Rourke because it did not affect the actual matter before the court.
The single point was that on November 13th, the two German Shepherds caused damage in an attack on a person who had been with his smaller dogs.
He remarked that evidence from a canine behaviour specialist hired by Hamdy provided a more anodyne account of the attack.
However, the court looked not only at the bite but the aggressive and provocative behaviour of the dogs, and the stress, anxiety and fear engendered, together with the absence of restraint and muzzle, "placed the incident on a substantially higher scale".
He noted the complainant detailed the level of aggression exhibited, which was unacceptable, and the court accepted his version. "And to my mind, the incident constitutes a vicious attack", Judge Halpin said.
He accepted that the dogs were a source of comfort for Hamdy but they were a restricted breed and not under effective control or muzzled at the time.
Hamdy's barrister asked the court to note his evidence that he would put more measures in place to prevent the dogs from getting out. Counsel also pointed out that the male dog was the main protagonist and returned to the attack, but the bitch retreated.
However, Judge Halpin said that taking all matters into account, he had to make an order of destruction for both dogs and payment of €4,000 in costs.
He added that Hamdy would not have been in court had they been under effective control.
The judge placed a stay on the destruction order for two weeks and adjourned the case until February 14th in case an appeal is lodged.