Northern Ireland

Puppy hammer attack man Kyle Keegan jailed for killing dog

Kyle Keegan Image copyright Paul Higgins
Image caption Kyle Keegan admitted animal cruelty last month

A County Armagh man who beat a puppy to death using a hammer has been sentenced to 30 months, half of which will be spent in prison.

Kyle Keegan, 24, of Gilpins Manor in Lurgan, admitted animal cruelty and causing unnecessary suffering to Sparky, an 11-week-old cross-breed dog.

Sparky's body was found in a bin in Ailsbury Park, Lurgan in February 2018.

A post-mortem examination confirmed the dog sustained fractures as well as severe brain trauma.

It also revealed multiple skull fractures, bruising to the brain and shoulder and blood in the lungs.

'Entirely defenceless animal'

It is likely to have been caused by hammer blows to the back of the head, the side of the head and shoulder.

Keegan's admission of the offences last month came a day before he was due to go on trial.

Image copyright PSNI
Image caption Sparky the puppy was found dead in a bin, having suffered severe injuries

The judge at Craigavon Crown Court on Wednesday said the post-mortem examination report made for "chilling reading" and it was likely the puppy suffered an unnecessarily painful death.

"It is difficult to imagine how violence could be any more gratuitous than when meted out to an 11-week-old small breed pup by the use of a claw hammer to stove its skull in," added the judge.

"It is absolutely patently clear such an animal would be entirely defenceless."

The judge said Keegan "must serve as an example to others and not only be punished yourself".

"There is little can be said that would express the horror of this small dog's death at your hands," he said.

After his release from prison, Keegan will spend the remaining half of his sentence on licence.

Keegan has also been banned from keeping animals for 30 years.

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