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Man accused of kicking dog allowed to return to family home despite police objections

An Armagh man who is accused of kicking a dog has been allowed to return to the family home which has adjoining kennels run by his partner.

Court previously heard the 43-year-old hit the dog with such force it was lifted into the air and let out a yelp

Keith Leslie Wilkinson, of Mullanasilla Road, Richhill appeared charged with causing unnecessary suffering to animals at the city’s Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday.

It was heard that another allegation which referred to an assault on his partner had been withdrawn.

Defence barrister Patrick Taggart stated: “Mr Wilkinson wishes to vary the bail to allow him to attend the family home, the injured party – his partner – is in court.

“She has withdrawn her statement but police object to this variation due to the cruelty to animal charges.”

At a bail application hearing on Christmas Eve, it was outlined that whilst driving to their home the complainant claims to have been punched by Wilkinson.

Whilst back at their home, it is alleged that the defendant then kicked a dog belonging to his partner.

The force was so much the dog was lifted into the air and let out a yelp, the court was told.

During interview, Wilkinson denied kicking the dog but the court heard the alleged incident had been captured on CCTV.

On Tuesday, a constable said the variation was objected to as the defendant’s partner’s business, which was kennels and dog training, was at the property.

He added that due to the allegation of cruelty to animals, there was a fear of further offences.

Mr Taggart contested that the business was not part of the family home but separate.

The constable stated: “There is direct access to the kennels from a gate in the yard”.

Mr Taggart said: “If convicted he may receive a banning order, you could come into contact with a dog in the street that is not covered, a banning order prevents you from owning or caring for a dog”.

He asked the constable if he would be satisfied if there was a condition banning Wilkinson from being in contact with dogs, the constable confirmed he would.

The barrister stated: “He will be in potential contact with animals, he does not have a history of this, I am led to believe there is CCTV which I have not seen.

“He has been denied access to the family home; the original allegation was a punch in the arm whilst driving, he has been sleeping on a sofa since Christmas.”

He added: “There are dogs which would be in the house but they could be kept in the kennels if the court so directed.”

Deputy District Judge Peter Prenter stated: “I am going to vary his bail to allow him to have contact with the injured party and allow him to return to the family home.

“But he must not enter the dog kennels and must have no contact with any dog”.

Wilkinson was released on his own bail of £500, the case was adjourned until February 25 for a review of the contest which has been fixed for March 10.

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