The puppy was distressed, and his wife pleaded with him to stop.
Dublin Circuit Criminal Court heard that Michael Connors (27) of Lambda Apartments, Monkstown Farm, Dublin, arrived home on April 9, 2020, after having been out drinking.
He brought the family's new 12-week-old puppy for a walk and, on returning home, put the puppy into a cold bath of water. The puppy was distressed, and his wife pleaded with him to stop.
The court heard that Connors then picked up the puppy and threw the puppy on the floor with force in front of his three small children and wife.
Detective Garda Garry White told Fiona McGowan, BL, prosecuting, that Connors's wife and children left and went to a neighbour's house. She returned a short time later and was punched by Connors. He demanded money from her, and she gave him €10; he knew she had a €50 note and demanded it.
The court heard that Connors locked his wife and children in the house and went to the shop. His wife notified her neighbour, and the gardaí were called.
When the gardaí arrived at the scene, Connors told them he had been drinking and “might have given her a slap”. The dog died, and a UCD vet stated that head trauma was the cause of its death.
On a separate occasion, Connors and his wife were at the home of one of his family members. Connor’s got angry when his wife offered to make sandwiches for people other than him. Once everyone had gone to bed, he punched her twice, smashed her mobile phone and threw a scooter at her. Gardai were called, and Connors was detained and interviewed.
The court heard that the accused has two previous convictions. He is a father of three young children, two of whom are non-verbal and one with Down Syndrome. Michael Connors pleaded guilty to two counts of assault against his wife, one count of criminal damage and one count of animal cruelty.
Fiona Pekarr, BL, defending, said her client wished to apologise to the court for his actions and said he is completely repentant and he wants better for his children. She said that Connors' eldest son is now six years of age, has Down Syndrome and is in remission from a serious medical condition.
His wife declined to make a victim impact statement and instead handed a written letter into court. Her eldest child needs a lot of care, and she has been looking after their three children since he went into custody in March 2022.
The court heard that Connors comes from a troubled background where he was abandoned by his parents and brought to Ireland by his aunt. His father was in and out of prison, and his mother was addicted to drugs.
Judge Orla Crowe said the accused “was in the presence of their tiny children when he killed their 12-week-old puppy and that part of his offending was committed while he was on bail”.
She said he assaulted his wife and the mother of his children in front of their children, which she outlined as aggravating factors in the case.
Judge Crowe said the mitigating factors, in this case, were the guilty pleas of the accused, the significant diversity in his life and that he relapsed at the time but has now made efforts to rehabilitate.
The judge said it was “truly despicable behaviour” and that these matters warranted a custodial sentence. For assaulting his wife and animal cruelty, she sentenced him to 18 months on each count. Both sentences to run consecutively.
For criminal damage and a further assault on his wife, she sentenced him to 18 months in prison on both counts backdated to when he went into custody in March 2022.
Judge Crowe suspended the remainder of the prison sentence as of today's date for four years under strict conditions that he must keep the peace and be of good behaviour for four years. He must remain under the supervision of the probation services for two years and carry out all directions they deem necessary.