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cruel killing 'I don’t want to go to jail', says man who beat chihuahua to death

Michael McAllister was jailed by a district judge for the savage killing of pet chihuahua Marley.


Michael McAllister

Michael McAllister

Michael McAllister

This is the Co Antrim man who bludgeoned a dog to death – just to stop it barking.

Michael McAllister was jailed by a district judge last week for the savage killing of pet chihuahua Marley.

The judge said it was clear the death of the beloved pet in such violent circumstances had left his owner “emotionally traumatised”.

But the cowardly thug reckons his horrific treatment of the miniature pooch wasn’t deserving of a single night behind bars and he was immediately released after launching an appeal of his sentence.

Chihuahuas are amongst the smallest breeds of dog in the world and stand at a maximum height of nine inches and weigh no more than 6lbs.


A chihuahua similar to the one killed by McAllister. Stock image

A chihuahua similar to the one killed by McAllister. Stock image

A chihuahua similar to the one killed by McAllister. Stock image

McAllister, who initially claimed he didn’t remember anything about what happened, had previously threatened the dog – warning he would choke it to death if it didn’t stop barking.

When we confronted him on his doorstep in the port area of the Co Antrim town this week, the 51-year-old told the Sunday World he couldn’t speak about what happened as he was appealing.

However, when asked if he had just lost his temper with the dog, a beleaguered McAllister replied: “No it was nothing like that.”

Waving his hands in the air in exasperation, McAllister said: “It’s a terrible thing but I can’t discuss it until after the appeal.”

He added: “I don’t want to go to jail.”

McAllister pleaded guilty to the theft of the dog and to causing unnecessary suffering to the animal during the shocking incident and is not appealing his convictions – just the jail sentence.

Jailing McAllister at Ballymena Magistrates Court on Wednesday, District Judge Nigel Broderick told him that to have caused the death of Marley was a “terribly cruel thing to do”.

The judge added: “There seems to be a greater concern when it’s totally wanton, unnecessary violence to an animal.

“It’s a concerning trait as there’s a possibility for that person to then engage in acts of violence against humans and others.”

DJ Broderick revealed that McAllister has a precious conviction for aggravated assault in 2003, an offence which resulted in a fine.

He told McAllister that to have battered the young dog to death “out of some sense of frustration with it because it was barking is wholly unacceptable”.

On the day his contest was due to start, McAllister entered guilty pleas to the theft of a dog and causing unnecessary suffering to the dog on August 4 last year.

A prosecuting lawyer told the court how police were called to an address in the town “over a report of a dog being killed” and when they spoke to Marley’s owner, she told them how McAllister had been in her flat “in an angry state”.

“The dog was barking and he lifted the dog and left the flat,” said the lawyer, adding that two witnesses contacted police to report they saw the defendant with the body of a “limp, dead dog”.

They took Marley off him and gave him back to his distraught owner and the court heard that a post-mortem examination determined the cause of death was due to a subdural haematoma which was caused by blunt force trauma.

According to Marley’s owner, McAllister had declared “on numerous occasions... that he would choke the dog if it didn’t stop barking.”

Arrested and interviewed, McAllister refused to answer police questions and claimed to a probation officer that he had no recollection of what had happened.

Describing McAllister as a “long-standing” alcoholic who would drink “two or three bottles of wine most days,” the lawyer said there was a late guilty plea on the day of contest because “he didn’t want to admit that he had it in him” to kill a defenceless animal.

Losing his plea in mitigation, defence counsel Michael Smyth said there may have been some prevarication by McAllister when he was interviewed by probation because “there may have been some difficulty in admitting to something quite so hideous”.

“He is remorseful in that he is ashamed of what he has done both to the dog and to his friendship,” said the lawyer.

Jailing McAllister, DJ Broderick told him it was clear from the victim impact reports that Marley had given his owner “a great deal of comfort and friendship” and that he had no doubt “she has been emotionally traumatised at the death of her much-loved pet”.

“You had no justification whatsoever for taking this dog away and killing it,” said the judge, who told McAllister that despite his protestations of amnesia, “I have no doubt that you knew exactly what you were doing”.

Although initially taken to the cells, following a defence application, McAllister was freed on £500 bail pending an appeal of the sentence.

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