Rottweiler owner tells inspectors to 'dig up’ garden if they don’t believe dog is dead

Wesley McCaughan’s Rottweiler savaged a man and killed his beloved pet dog in a terrifying and prolonged attack.

Wesley McCaughan nurses his Rottweiler when it was a pup.

Wesley McCaughan

Steven MooreSunday World

This is the man who has invited dog inspectors to dig up his garden to prove his claim that his dangerous Rottweiler is dead is no tall ‘tail’.

And here’s the same ‘barking mad’ dog owner trying to avoid being photographed by theSunday World by driving off in his car with his football shirt over his head!

Wesley McCaughan’s Rottweiler savaged a man and killed his beloved pet dog in a terrifying and prolonged attack in August 2017.

In 2018, McCaughan was convicted in his absence of setting his dog on another person and with being the keeper of a dog which attacked another pet during that incident.

The case is only coming to court now because McCaughan, now of Wilton Street, Belfast, effectively went on the run from the law after he refused to turn up to court.

Afteran arrest warrant was issued last year, McCaughan handed himself in and he appeared in court last November – but a judge told the court she couldn’t sentence him until he produced the killer pooch so it could be destroyed.

During that November hearing, Judge Rosie Watters warned McCaughan: “If the dog isn’t produced, his liberty is very much at stake.

“I’m not saying that I want the dog here [at court] but it was to be destroyed and it hasn’t been.”

Now McCaughan has made the incredible claim the dog is already dead and invited council dog inspectors to come to his house and dig up his back garden!

However, when we called to speak to Mr McCaughan about his court case, he started acting bizarrely.

When we knocked his door, a friend came out and told us, without asking who we were, that Wesley wasn’t in and he’d have to call us later.

The pal then sprinted around the corner and jumped into a white people carrier which was being driven by none other than Wesley McCaughan, who was wearing the same red Manchester United shirt he’d worn to court 24 hours earlier.

When we eventually caught up with him he wound down his window to ask who we were, confirmed he was Wesley McCaughan, but when he saw our camera he pulled his shirt over his head and drove away.

When we arrived at his home initially there was a large Belfast City Council truck outside his front door, and it’s possible he was concerned the authorities had turned up unannounced with their spades ready to exhume his supposedly dead dog.

On Tuesday a lawyer for McCaughan, whose age is unknown according to court papers, told Lisburn Magistrates Court that according to the defendant, “the dog passed away a couple of years ago from natural causes” and is buried in his garden.

Defence counsel Peter Coiley also told the court on Tuesday that McCaughan “will allow access for the burial site to be investigated – effectively digging up the remains of the dog”.

Deputy District Judge Liam McStay said the resident magistrate who had been dealing with the case had noted on the file that “the dog would need to be produced or his liberty is at stake”.

“She has a number of concerns about the way the defendant has dealt with the case and I’m not comfortable with what I’m being told because the story is that the defendant has taken a position to safeguard his own liberty,” said the judge.

Prosecuting counsel Conleth Rooney outlined the shocking facts of the incident when McCaughan’s Rottweiler went berserk in 2017.

He explained that at around 1.45pm, the victim was walking his French bulldog along Glebe Walk in Lisburn and “expected to see the defendant’s Rottweiler which usually jumps at the gate and barks”.

Wesley McCaughan

He noticed, however, the gate was open, so he went to pick up his dog but just at that time, the Rottweiler “appeared from between two parked cars and attacked the French bulldog, biting it on the back legs”.

Managing to free his dog, the victim set the Frenchie on top of some wheelie bins but the Rottweiler “jumped up and grabbed it out of his arms,” said Mr Rooney.

Again, the victim managed to grab his mauled and injured pet and ran into a nearby beer garden seeking refuge, but the Rottweiler ran after him and lunged at the dog again.

The deranged mutt also bit the victim on the left upper arm, leaving him with four puncture wounds.

The terrifying attack only ended when a man with a shovel arrived on the scene and whacked the Rottweiler over the head to subdue it.

While the badly injured Frenchie was “rushed to the vets”, his owner went to the hospital to be stitched up but when he got back to the vets later that day, “he was told that unfortunately, his dog had passed away”.

Mr Rooney told the judge a destruction order had been made for the Rottweiler to be put to sleep but because McCaughan was convicted in his absence, the warrant issued for his arrest was not executed until last November and the destruction order was never complied with.

“The council don’t know where the dog is and the defence would say that the dog is dead and I have no instructions to the contrary,” said Mr Rooney.

Mr Coiley said it appeared the warrant had lain “dormant” until last year when McCaughan was contacted about the PSNI making Facebook appeals for outstanding warrants “and that his name would be public”.

“He came to police to have the warrant executed,” said the barrister, who then outlined that according to McCaughan the Rottweiler passed away “from natural causes” and is buried in his garden.

“Not to be facetious but the council can come and see for themselves,” said Mr Coiley.

DJ McStay said given the fact that the case had been before the resident judge a number of times and her notes on the file, Judge Watters can deal with it on the next occasion, so he adjourned the case to March 21.

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