The case was heard at Craigavon Magistrates' Court.
A Lurgan man, who stole two dogs from a female who allegedly owed money for a drug debt, has been jailed for four months.
Appearing via video-link from Maghaberry, the case of Dwayne Mullan, (35), of Dingwell Park, was heard at Craigavon Courthouse sitting on Friday, September 23.
A prosecutor outlined that on December 12, 2020, police received a report from a third party which outlined that she could hear windows smashing from a nearby house.
Upon arrival, police found the injured party to be in an intoxicated state and informed police that a male known to her had threatened to steal her dog earlier in the day as a result of a drug debt she allegedly owed.
The defendant left and returned to the property later with three other people and the injured party informed police that nobody within her house had permission to be there.
However, Mullan informed the complainant that he was taking her TV in order to pay off the debt and in return he would leave the dogs.
Another male carried the TV out of the house on the defendant’s behalf.
The injured party stated that she left her own property and attended her ex’s house next door and a short time later, she heard her dogs barking and realised they had been taken from her back garden.
The theft of the dogs had taken place just a short time after the threats from Mullan that they would be stolen.
The injured party were informed that two males and two females were sighted carrying the dogs out her back garden and placed into the back of a jeep. However, this reporting person refused to provide a statement.
The injured party provided a statement on December 18, 2020, informing police that she had traced the sale of one of her dogs on social media and the male who bought the dog willingly returned it.
This male informed police that Mullan had sold the dog to him but he failed to give police a statement.
Soon after, the complainant was informed the defendant had been texting one of her friends who offered to sell one of the dogs, however, this friend also refused to provide a statement.
Police attended the defendant’s address and he was located out the back with another male, with both males telling officers that he had been in the flat.
It was confirmed by a prosecutor that both dogs were safely returned to the owner.
In his defence, the court was told that the dogs were returned unharmed and there was “substantial hearsay” in the matter due to the victim’s level of intoxication on the day in question.
It was added that Mullan has taken positive steps in asking his solicitor to write to the PPS to bring forward any outstanding matters and he pleaded guilty to the charge at the earliest opportunity.
A solicitor added that his client has been on remand for another matter since April and he doesn’t have a prospect of bail at present.
District Judge Bernie Kelly said: “This is a particularly offensive crime.
“To pick on animals who can’t defend themselves, these are live creatures and to take them as some sort of object is particularly heinous.
“I don’t have many sentencing options given your current status.”
The Judge imposed a four month custodial sentence for the offence of handling stolen goods.