Man facing charges over death of puppy has bail application adjourned

Sparky the puppy who died.

THE remains of an 11-week-old puppy were found in a bin following an alleged hammer attack at a drink and drug-fuelled house party, the High Court heard today.

Prosecutors said the pet, named Sparky, suffered severe brain trauma, with tests ongoing to establish if it had also been put in a microwave.

Details emerged as a 23-year-old man accused of inflicting the fatal injuries in Lurgan, Co Armagh mounted an application for bail.

Kyle Keegan, a scaffolder from Gilpins Manor in the town, is charged with causing unnecessary suffering to an animal on February 3.

Two days later police went to the scene of the alleged killing, a flat in Ailsbury Park, after being alerted to concerns about the dog.

Kyle Keegan who denies animal cruelty charges

When officers arrived a woman who lives at the address revealed was just about to contact them as her puppy, Sparky, had been found in a bin, the court heard.

The animal's remains were seized along with a blood-spattered T-shirt said to belong to Keegan.

A blood-stained hammer which had allegedly been hidden behind a kitchen appliance was also taken for further examination.

Crown lawyer Conor Maguire set out how the investigation developed when a 16-year-old youth went to police expressing fear for his safety due to social media posts linking him to the incident.

He was arrested, questioned and bailed pending further inquiries.

During interviews the youth claimed he saw the applicant in the flat with a hammer in his hand and it had blood on it.

Keegan also went to Lurgan PSNI station, stating during interviews that he had attended a party at the address.

He confirmed the T-shirt belonged to him but offered no explanation for the apparent blood stains.

It is believed a number of people were at the flat during the party.

In a statement the flat's owner said both Keegan and the 16-year-old youth were present when she left for a period on February 3.

At that stage, according to her account, the pup was in a cage in the hallway.

She claimed a friend then phoned her later that day to say the puppy had run away.

However the court heard she began "receiving numerous messages and calls stating Sparky had been killed."

The women then allegedly located the blooded hammer and T-shirt, and found her pet in a bin.

Crown counsel said tests showed the pup had sustained brain injuries. He also disclosed that tests were also being conducted to see if the animal was placed in a microwave.

Barry McKenna, defending, acknowledged the alleged offence was "appalling".

But he insisted there was no evidence connecting the blood on his client's T-shirt to the puppy.

Questioning the reliability of the 16-year-old's account, Mr McKenna claimed it should be treated with suspicion.

Adjourning the application for bail, Mrs Justice Keegan said issues about any perceived risk in the community, mental health and alcohol still need to be resolved.

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