Jail For Man Who Threw Rabbit In River Liffey

A 20-year-old man has been sentenced to four months' detention for throwing a homeless man's rabbit into the River Liffey in Dublin.

Gary Kearney, originally from Crumlin, pleaded guilty at Dublin District Court to animal cruelty and torture.

He also admitted breach of the peace during the incident on 3 July 2011.

The animal's owner, John Byrne, had been begging on O'Connell Bridge when his pet, Barney, was snatched from his arms and thrown into the river.

The 37-year-old risked his life by jumping in after his pet and giving him the kiss of life before both were rescued by firefighters.

He was later presented with a Compassionate Citizen Award for going above and beyond the call of duty to help an animal in need.

Outside the court, Mr Byrne, who has been living on the streets for 23 years, said: "I wasn't going to leave him there."

"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."


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A man is set to appear before Dublin District Court on Tuesday for alleged animal cruelty and torture. Gary Kearney, 20, who is originally from Crumlin, will plead guilty to throwing a rabbit in to the River Liffey. He was also charged with breach of the peace over the alleged incident on July 3, 2011, according to defence solicitor Aine Flynn.