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Cyclist died after out-of-control dog ran out in front of him, court hears

Animal’s owner fined €625 after fatal crash

The  owner of a dog that ran out in front of a cyclist, causing him to crash and sustain fatal injuries, has been fined a total of €625 by a court in Ireland.

Michael Dunlea, aged 60, was fined €300 at Cork District Court for not having his dog under proper control in a public place,  reports

Cyclist Patrick O’Brien, aged 63, was killed after he crashed after swerving to avoid the Yorkshire Terrier when it ran out in front of him on the morning of 25 October 2020.

He had been cycling with two friends in Ballybrack, Carrignavar at around 43kph when the crash happened.

Dunlea, who said that “anything is possible” when it comes to animals, denied that his dog had caused the crash, but two cyclists who were riding with Mr O’Brien told the court what had happened and identified the dog.

One of the riders who was with Mr O’Brien, Jim Rocks, told the court that the dog had come from the right.

“I heard Pat falling off the bike and hitting the ground,” he said. “Pat was lying prone in the recovery position on the middle of the road. He was breathing. He was not responding. Blood was coming out of his nose and left ear.”

Eamon Shanahan, representing Dunlea, challenged him on whether it was indeed a dog.

“There are frequently rabbits and wildlife in the area,” he said. “Are you certain it was not a rabbit? A small rabbit can be like a Yorkshire Terrier.”

But Mr Rocks insisted: “It was definitely a dog that came across the road.”

His wife Lucy, who was also on the bike ride, also confirmed it was a dog.

“I saw a small dog dart out from a property,” she said. “First, Jim reacted. I reacted. I looked back and saw Pat react. For Pat to miss the dog he turned the handlebars and came off the bike. He was on the ground. He landed in a recovery position.

“The dog came out from under the fence at the end of the property. It is a small dog, it didn’t have to bend its head to get out under the fence,” she added.

Besides the €300 fine imposed for not having his dog under control, Dunlea was also fined a further €325 because the dog, and two others he was in charge of, were not licensed.

Simon joined as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

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