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Last Updated: Monday, 23 April 2007, 19:04 GMT 20:04 UK
GAA star fined for dangerous dog
Ger Cavlan
Ger Cavlan plays Gaelic football for Tyrone
A Tyrone GAA football star has been fined 650 after pleading guilty to possession of a dangerous dog at Dungannon Magistrates Court.

Gerard Cavlan, 30, of Willow Gardens, Dungannon, was also banned for five years from owning a terrier-type dog and ordered to pay costs of 4,300.

USPCA officials seized the animal, which had a number of scars, after they spotted it with the footballer.

Magistrate Eamon King urged Cavlan to remember his position as a role model.

"You have to be aware that people do look up to you and people do tend to emulate you and want to emulate you," he said.

"We want people to imitate you in all that's good - i.e. your successful footballing career - not in the type of activity that takes place in back yards in the dark of night involving one animal going face-to-face against another."

The pit bull terrier found at the home of Ger Cavlan
This pit bull terrier crossbreed was found at the home of Ger Cavlan

Cavlan admitted five offences involving possession of a pit bull, taking it out in public without a muzzle and having no licence for three other Staffordshire terriers.

The magistrate ordered the pit bull to be destroyed.

His lawyer, Michael Duffy, told the court Cavlan was not the pit bull's owner, but had only collected it from kennels for a Dublin man, who attended the court hearing.

The plan was to deliver the dog but before that Cavlan had taken it for a two-minute walk to stretch its legs, the barrister said.

"Mr Cavlan has no involvement in relation to any other activities that would be illegal.

"This favour which he did for another person has landed him in a very unfortunate and very sorry situation.

"He was doing somebody a good turn and he's paying a very heavy price for it," he said.

Mr King told Cavlan that if he had had a record and not entered a plea of guilty he would have jailed him if convicted of the offence.

"The message has to go out - in this day and age there is no place in this society for animals of this nature," the magistrate said.

"They are certainly not pets. They get off the leash, one or two dogs, and if they get a child, God knows (what could happen)."

A senior official from the local authority, which prosecuted the case, warned they would hunt out those who keep pit bulls.

Alan Burke, director of environmental health with Dungannon and South Tyrone Council, said: "If you keep pit bulls in this area, we will follow you and we will put you before the court."

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