A County Fermanagh dog breeder, who received death threats after false allegations about his business were made on Facebook, is to receive undisclosed damages, the High Court has ruled.

Jerry Smyth from Rosslea, who owns the Ulster Dog Breeding Academy, was also issued a public apology as part of the settlement reached in a libel action case against James McCurry.

Mr. Smyth sued Mr. McCurry over false allegations that were made about his dog breeding business in a social media post in January 2021.

Mr. McCurry posted the allegations to Facebook on January 21, 2021, six days after he visited Mr. Smyth’s dog breeding premises on January 15.

Mr. McCurry had travelled to Rosslea to view a West Highland Terrier Puppy and after some time, he went on his way without the puppy.

Two days prior to Mr. McCurry’s visit to the Ulster Dog Breeding Academy, on January 13, the Fermanagh and Omagh District Council dog warden inspected Mr. Smyth’s premises to renew his dog breeding licence, which was granted.

After posting the allegations to Facebook on January 21, Mr. McCurry’s post went viral. It was shared thousand of times all around the world and also received over two thousand comments.

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On January 22, 2021, Mr. Smyth had an unexpected inspection from the dog warden, welfare officers and a veterinary surgeon, who concluded that their were no issues with his business.

Mr. Smyth then brought libel action against Mr. McCurry to the High Court in Belfast.

In court on Friday, June 10, 2022, it was announced that proceedings had been resolved.

A statement was read out by counsel on behalf of Mr. McCurry.

Barrister Michael Bready confirmed that the Facebook post published by his client contained “false and incorrect statements regarding (Mr. Smyth’s) dog breeding establishment”.

Those claims were categorically untrue and without foundation, it was accepted.

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The barrister said: “Mr. McCurry further acknowledges that Mr. Smyth, owner of Ulster Dog Breeding Academy, operates a fully licensed and registered dog breeding establishment which is regulated by Fermanagh and Omagh District Council, and which receives regular unannounced inspections from veterinary officers and from the District Council.”

Speaking to The Impartial Reporter following the settlement, Mr. Smyth said: “Jim McCurry offended myself, my family and my business.

“I’m glad that the matter has been settled and the accusations have been proven to be totally false.”