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Owner of killer dog who refused to turn up to court for five years is ‘savaged’ by judge

Judge Watters described the case as “horrendous” and “one of the worst” she had come across.

Wesley McCaughan invited dog inspectors to dig up his garden to prove his claim his dangerous Rottweiler is dead

Wesley McCaughan covers his face with a football shirt

Wesley McCaughan invited dog inspectors to dig up his garden to prove his claim his dangerous Rottweiler is dead

Steven MooreSunday World

A man who invited inspectors to dig up his garden to prove his killer Rottweiler had died has been ‘savaged’ by a judge and jailed for four months.

District Judge Rosie Watters bit back at Wesley McCaughan and how he handled the aftermath of his dangerous dog attacking a dog walker and his French Bulldog six years ago.

Judge Watters told the Belfast man his behaviour had been “appalling” and described the case as “horrendous” and “one of the worst” she had come across.

Last month we revealed how McCaughan, who’s age is unknown, had effectively evaded justice for over five years after his blood-thirsty Rottweiler dog ‘Junior’ had killed another dog and repeatedly attacked its owner.

In 2018 he was convicted in his absence of setting his dog on another person and with being the keeper of a dog which attacked another dog 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.

After an arrest warrant was issued last year McCaughan handed himself 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.

Wesley McCaughan covers his face with a football shirt

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.”

Last month McCaughan 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!

When we called to speak to Mr McCaughan about his court case last month he sped off in his car with his football shirt covering his face.

On Tuesday Judge Watters told the court she doubted McCaughan’s tall ‘tail’ about the dog being dead pointing out if the dog had actually died in November 2017 why had McCaughan failed to mention this to police or to the court until a few weeks ago.

A prosecutor explained how the victim of the attack had been walking his French Bulldog along Glebe Walk in Lisburn and had been expecting to see Mr McCaughan’s Rottweiler behind the gate as it regularly jumped up.

However, on this occasion the gate was open and the Rottweiler – known as ‘Junior’ – was loose and launched a savage attack on both the man and his dog.

The Rottweiler having already attacked the dog, which was in the arms of its owner, latched onto the owner’s upper left arm and left four puncture wounds.

While the injured party managed to run into a house the dog chased after him and followed him into the kitchen and continued to attack.

“He was unable to close the door as the Rottweiler had overpowering him and he ran into the kitchen and the dog was still chasing him,” the court was told.

The shocking incident only ceased when another man appeared and hit the dog over the head with a shovel.

The French Bulldog was taken to the vet while the injured party was taken to hospital A&E and treated for the puncture wounds and given antibiotics.

His dog was so badly injured by the attack it died later that day.

The council conducted an investigation at the address and McCaughan confirmed the Rottweiler was called ‘Junior’ and resided with him at Glebe Walk.

The prosecutor told the court, “He confirmed to the council that Junior didn’t like small dogs and would ‘go for them’. The dog wasn’t licensed.”

It emerged the council had brought an emergency destruction order for the dog in November 2017, before charges were brought, after Wesley McCaughan had refused to hand the dog over.

Wesley McCaughan invited dog inspectors to dig up his garden to prove his claim his dangerous Rottweiler is dead

At a previous hearing last month McCaughan claimed in court the dog had died in 2017 and he had buried the dog in his back garden.

He invited the council to come and dig it up to see for themselves however on Tuesday Judge Watters made the point McCaughan never mentioned this before.

“He didn’t say anything about the dog being dead when the arrest warrant was executed for him in November last year,” said Judge Watters.

“I said at that stage the dog needed to be destroyed but then of course, he never mentioned to me that the dog was long since dead, it was only subsequently later in November that I was told the dog was dead and that he didn’t know when it had died.”

Judge Watters pushed McCaughan, who was in the dock, about exactly how and when the dog died.

McCaughan said he couldn’t exactly remember but he thought it was “towards the end of 2017” and when pushed as to how it died he told the judge, “I just found it lying in the back garden dead”.

Judge Watters was extremely sceptical saying, “Most dogs who have responsible owners are normally sick and they go to the vets and they end up dying or being put down and don’t just end up in the back-garden dead.”

She added, “I’m not impressed by this story.” And she added that he had failed to cooperate and failed to show any “compassion” to his victim.

“He doesn’t accept any real culpability,” she said. “Anybody else would have been horrified if their dog did that sort of damage to somebody else’s dog and to another person. To have killed another dog in those circumstances, he and his dog do very little for the case of Rottweiler owners.

“Rottweilers are dangerous, dangerous dogs. Everybody knows that. It should be locked up and kept well away from people or dogs it could do damage to.”

Judge Watters told McCaughan to stand up as she sentenced him saying: “Just stand up. You do not get any credit for having come here to plead guilty at any stage, you were given lots of opportunities and I don’t think you’ve dealt with this in any decent way, to be perfectly honest.

“The dog should have been produced to be euthanized. That was the case for ages. You didn’t say when you were arrested the dog had died, you said it subsequently and, I mean, who knows if the dog died, or what has become of the dog.

“But once the dog had done what your dog had done it should have been put down. That’s the end of the story.

“In all the circumstances, my view is, you didn’t present the dog, you didn’t come here to plead guilty and this offence deserves an immediate custodial sentence.

“It will be a sentence of four months.”

He was also banned from keeping animals for ten years.

She added afterwards: “This was an horrendous case and one of the worst I’ve come across and the way he dealt with it was appalling.”

McCaughan was released on his own bail of £500 to appeal the sentence.

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

He then got into a car which was being driven by McCaughan and when we 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!

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