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exclusive Grandad loses gun licence after shooting dead a pet dog and throwing body over fence with pitchfork

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Liam Browne says the dog was frightening his sheep

Liam Browne says the dog was frightening his sheep

Liam Browne says the dog was frightening his sheep

A 75-year-old farmer who had his guns confiscated after he shot dead a dog in his field has insisted: "I did nothing wrong to deserve them guns being taken."

Liam Browne insisted this week that he "did not get fair play in court" during his appeal to have his guns returned, saying his good character had been unfairly portrayed.

"In the court I felt I was made out like a gangster," he told the Sunday World this week.

"It wasn't right. I'm a grandad … not a gun-toting grandad."

Details of the incident which saw Liam lose his guns were heard during an appeal against the revocation of his firearms certificate at Longford court last week.

The court heard he had shot the Red Setter on his lands at Clonca, Edgeworthstown, in front of his grand-daughter in a bid to protect more than a dozen pedigree sheep being worried by the dog.

Granard Garda Superintendent Seamus Boyle said he had used his powers to refuse an application by the defendant after three separate allegations relating to the alleged misuse of a firearm were made against him.

One of the incidents was alleged to have occurred in July 2018 when a neighbour complained Mr Browne allegedly produced a gun at him in a "threatening manner".

This incident was denied by Liam Browne and the DPP subsequently directed that no prosecution arise.

A second complaint from the same alleged victim contended that Mr Browne had allegedly driven by him on a road and pointed a gun out the window of his vehicle.

Like the previous incident, a file was sent to the DPP with the same result of no prosecution being directed against the pensioner.

But the main incident which concerned the court was one in December 2016 when Mr Browne was said to have shot the pet dog in front of its owner and grand-daughter over fears the Red Setter was worrying his livestock.

"He [Mr Browne] shot the dog there and then," said Supt Boyle, adding the puppy was still alive after being shot.

Supt Boyle said after shooting the dog, Mr Browne picked up the animal with a "four-pronged fork" and dropped it at the roadway before walking away.

Refusing Mr Browne's application to have his gun licence restored, Judge Seamus Hughes told him: "You just dropped the dog at the side of the field and walked off. I won't be giving you any gun licence if that is the type of man you are."

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Liam talks to our reporter Patrick O'Connell

Liam talks to our reporter Patrick O'Connell

Liam talks to our reporter Patrick O'Connell

This week, Mr Browne said despite the view in court that his actions warranted the removal of his gun licence, he would do nothing differently if he had his guns and the incident arose again.

"I shot the dog alright," he said. "I shot the dog. But not enough was made of the fact that 14 sheep aborted lambs as a result of being attacked by the dog that day.

"He had them rounded up there in the corner of the field.

"And I said to them, it was my own granddaughter and a friend of hers who owned the dog, if you don't get that effing dog out of there, I'm going to shoot him.

"And they never passed any remark on me so I went in and I got the gun and I shot the dog.

"It was a half-bred Red Setter with a white blaze on his face.

"Fourteen pedigree sheep aborted lambs and it was down to being worried by the dog that day.

"The sheep were heavily pregnant and they started to abort lambs.

"It was because of the dog and I didn't get fair play on that when it went into court," he said.

Asked about his use of the pitchfork in removing the dog from the field, Mr Browne continued: "I had the pitchfork with me when I saw the dog and I went over and shouted at them to move him.

"When they didn't I left the pitchfork against the pier of the gate there and I went in and got the gun and shot the dog.

"Then I went back in and left the gun inside and the dog was up there lying in the field with the sheep looking at him terrified.

"So I went and got the pitchfork and I put it under him and scooped him up.

"Then I carried him down and just threw him over the fence.

"The judge was upset at that.

"He said never again was I entitled to get a gun licence.

"But what was I to do?

"Sure they wouldn't even go in and get him when he was alive.

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Liam Browne lost his gun licence

Liam Browne lost his gun licence

Liam Browne lost his gun licence

"They were hardly going up to get and him dead.

"So I just carried the dog down to the road and put him over the wall.

"I used the pitchfork because it was there … I just used it to carry him down."

Asked about the previous incident where it was alleged he had wielded the gun in a threatening manner, Mr Browne denied ever having produced his gun in a threatening manner.

"In the court they made me out like a gangster. I'm a grandad but not a gun-toting grandad.

"I'll never get my guns back now… the judge said never.

"And I need my guns.

"There are sheds up there with over a hundred cattle, another one there with over a hundred cattle and two more down the road.

"And I pour the silage out in front of the passageway and pour the meal in front of it.

"And you ought to see the flocks of crows coming in, and not alone what they're eating, they're fouling it as well."

Asked if the same incident were to occur again would he shoot the dog, Liam responded: "Naturally … I would. I don't regret it.

"The poor unfortunate sheep … they have a short life … they are all pedigree sheep and they have a short life and they are entitled to live it in peace without being pulled apart by a dog.

"So definitely, I would not in any shape or form, do it differently," he said.

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