UK & World News
Man Who Threw Rabbit In River Is Jailed
A man has been jailed for snatching a homeless man's rabbit and hurling it into a river.
The animal's owner, John Byrne, had been begging on Dublin's O'Connell Bridge when his pet Barney was taken from his arms and thrown into the River Liffey.
The 37-year-old jumped into the water after his beloved pet and gave him the kiss of life, but was unable to save the rabbit. Both were pulled from the river by firefighters.
Gary Kearney pleaded guilty at Dublin District Court to cruelly torturing or terrifying an animal and was sentenced to four months in prison.
The 20-year-old, who is originally from the Crumlin area of Dublin and was brought up in care, also admitted breach of the peace during the incident on July 3, 2011. He has 138 previous convictions.
Outside the court, Mr Byrne, who has been living on the streets for 23 years, said he was in shock when he saw Barney swimming around in circles, looking up at him.
"I wasn't going to leave him there," he said.
"I had to get him, I had to jump in to get him. Barney died in my arms. I got him under the bridge and gave him the kiss of life."
Mr Byrne said the sentence sent out a clear message to people who abuse animals that they will not walk out of court laughing.
He said: "I was scared. Wouldn't anybody (be scared) going into freezing cold water? And there is a seal there that would have eaten Barney.
"I can swim and I'd done life-saving before. Only for that I was gone. The current would have pulled me under."
He added that one of his three dogs, Lily, would not go out begging with him after witnessing the incident.
Within days of his pet's death, Mr Byrne was given a Compassionate Citizen Award for going above and beyond the call of duty to help an animal in need.
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what do you think?
Well done to that magistrate.
more of this we want please
Absolutely disgusted with why someone would do something like that.Am glad the jail sentence was handed down.
What a cruel nasty b, its about time people who abuse animals get jailed , zero tolerance no excuses. Poor guy lost his pal, he did what most owners of pets would, save them. What harm did he or his rabbit do to anyone, makes me sick
totally agree with you
What a vile sick world we live in.
They should throw him of a cliff
make him walk of a cliff
Twenty years old and 139 convictions why is this guy even out on the street, habitual criminal devoid of humanity....lock him up and throw away the key.
i don't find it very funny
JJ has some serious problems, Norman.
Always thought people who have to keep saying ''lol'' are childish and immature, this proves it. It's in the realms of school playground text messaging.
Where as I agree cruelty to animals is bad (my daughter has a pet rabbit) he was jailed but some who injure people are not
This was an umprovokrd attack on an innocent man, the theft of his property and (unintentionally) putting the man's life at risk. THat's pretty bad really.
How was it an attack on the man.and he chose to jump in
I t was an attack on Mr Byrne because his much loved pet was grabbed from his arms and thrown in the Liffey, which is a large river. I think it was an incredibly callous act and if someone had done that to one of my animals i would be devastated. He chose to jump in after his rabbit, putting his life at risk, because he loved and cared for it.
The world is ascending into organized chaos and we hear about a man who flung a rabbit into a river. Please!
so it's ok for a poor defenceless animal to be killed by some scumbag then is it?
The world is already in organised chaos because of people like this, and people who condone their evil acts !
Justice for the rabbit killer! Still no government pedophiles in jail :(
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Why aren't you at work at 3 0'clock on a Tuesday afternoon?
anyone that hurts/abuses children or animals is pure evil and needs to be dealt with accordingly
The real question here is why a 37 year old man - who is clearly compassionate and if he's trained as a life-saver not without ability - has been homeless for 23 years. What's going on in western "society"? Secondly - if I had to choose between spending my time with people like him, or with someone with views as crass as JimmyJedi I'd chose the homeless guy anytime.
Why are people so cruel beyond belief
Should throw him in water with a brick to his feet.... disgusting man!!! See how he likes it! I hope you have a hard time in prison.. that poor rabbit will have been that man's best friend! Have fun hopping in the fields barney rip little one!
Should have got four years..........................without parole
What a really sad wee story and a shame for mr Byrne and Barney. A really horrible thing to do to a gentle creature and a gentle owner. JJ I take your points about the bigger picture, but small acts of cruelty need dealt with as well and people who act in this way generally show no love for animals or people alike
cruelty to animals mean cruelty to people.. yes he was brought up in care does that give him any more right to hurt an animal and the owner.... we the tax payer have kept this person, fed him. put a roof over his head, kept him in clothes warmth and given him education and a health service and this is how he pays society.... now as a reward for his terrible action, we again give him a roof over his head, food, warmth and adequate care. are we a mad country....bring back corporal punishment.. he is an unwanted thug of the nation
This is justice gone barmy. Jail a man for throwing a rabbit in the water..... Why not just throw the man in the water with bricks around his neck.... It would save a lot of money to the tax payers and give animal lovers such as myself a lot of pleasure.
Yes, while he is inside he will have time to make plans for a clean fresh start in life. Guess where he will head for when he gets out ?