20-year-old Jacob McDonald, from Pinnaroo, South Australia, was tracked down by Australian police and the RSPCA last year after a video of him driving down emus at speeds greater than 120km/h went viral.
At first, there was a “nationwide manhunt” to find the man in the video. Then, McDonald appeared in court on the 9th of this month and was sentenced to 42 days in prison.
Some of the offences he was charged with aggravated cruelty to animals, torment to animals, and killing protected wildlife. Ten emus were killed.
“You received pleasure from inflicting pain on defenseless animals,” said magistrate Michael King as he handed down MacDonald’s sentence.
MacDonald told The Daily Mail that the emus are quite destructive:
“I could show you some photos of the destruction the emus make down here. We’ve been in drought. We’re literally growing crops on about four inches of rain.”
“You’ve got these animals coming in and making a mess. Te reason there is so many on the road is because they’re looking for something to eat. And there’s nothing.”
“They’re just that poorly, they need to be put down.
“Here is what the RSPCA doesn’t understand, they go on about cruelty, they should come out here and have a look at the state of these animals … they’re not doing anything for them.”
According to Daily Mail, “Mr Macdonald cited a difficult period in his life, particularly over the four months before his crime, when he had a relationship breakdown with an ex-girlfriend. However, he insisted he wasn’t intending to be cruel to the native birds.”
Daily Mail also reported that, according to his ex-girlfriend who originally revealed that he was the man behind the video, he’s the “type to go hunting”:
‘He’s the type to go hunting, he grew up that way but this is just atrocious. I was shocked and speechless… angry mostly,’ she said.
After his identity was revealed, MacDonald apologised for his actions to the media:
“I realize now it was the wrong thing to do. I’ve never put an animal through suffering before. I know what I did wrong.”
By Penny Hoffmann