Pensioner in court over rake threat

Mr McLoughlin had to appear at Livingston Sheriff Court after using a rake to stop two dogs attacking his cat.
Mr McLoughlin had to appear at Livingston Sheriff Court after using a rake to stop two dogs attacking his cat.
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A PENSIONER armed himself with a garden rake in a bid to stop two dogs tearing the family cat apart.

Richard McLoughlin fended off one of the dogs with the garden implement as he tried to force open the other animal’s jaws to release his pet cat.

But the 68-year-old has now had to appear in court for the first time in his life after being arrested and charged by the police following a confrontation with the owner of the dogs.

Livingston Sheriff Court heard that he brandished the rake and shouted at William Graham after the owner of the two lurchers followed the dogs into his back garden in the early hours of the morning.

Stewart Houston, prosecuting, said: “I understand the two dogs had a hold of the cat and were pulling it in different directions.

“Mr Graham removed the cat from one of the dog’s mouth and began to walk out of the garden when Kirsty McLoughlin, the daughter of the accused began to remonstrate with him.”

He went on: “Mr Graham brushed her aside and began to shout at his dog. But, as he walked out of the driveway, he saw the accused brandishing the garden rake above his head and shouting at him.

“Instead of walking away Mr Graham walked towards the accused and started to throw punches towards him. The accused did strike the complainer with the rake causing an injury that required 10 staples.”

McLoughlin, of Blackburn, West Lothian, pled guilty yesterday to behaving in a threatening and abusive manner during the incident on March 24 last year.

Alan Jackson, defending, said his client had used the garden tool in self defence after the dogs’ owner attacked him.

He said: “This matter has weighed heavily on him and he takes it extremely seriously.

“He accepts the brandishing of the rake would have been alarming, but it’s an absolute certainty that he’ll not be back in court again.”

Admonishing McLoughlin, Sheriff Susan Craig told him: “Clearly this was a horrible incident in which you had to view this cat being pulled by these dogs.

“I accept that having a complete stranger in your garden watching you trying to deal with the matter would have been intimidating.

“It’s not my practice to admonish people for criminal matters, but I think you’re the exception.”