NEWS

Bloke Who Filmed Himself Running Down Emus Sentenced To 42 Days In Jail

by Sarahjg

A man who allegedly used his 4WD to mow down a mob of emus in Victoria's north-west has been charged with several animal cruelty offences.

A video shared on social media in 2018 which showed a man deliberately running over more than a dozen emus as he drove his vehicle along Pellaring Road, Cowangie.

The man in the video is laughing as he ploughs the group of animals down.

"F**king emus," the man can be heard yelling.

About 20 seconds later, the video shows the car approaching a mob of emus which are running away from the vehicle.

The car runs over about half a dozen of them, with the driver counting along and laughing.

Jacob Scott MacDonald, 21, pleaded guilty in the Mildura Magistrates Court to three charges relating to animal cruelty and destruction of protected wildlife.

He also pleaded guilty to two driving charges after filming himself running over the animals at Cowangie, near the South Australian border.

Sixteen animals were killed in the incident on Pellaring Road.

The court was shown a video taken by the accused which sparked a national manhunt after it was posted online.

Mr MacDonald's defence told the court the act was out of character for the agricultural contractor and that he had just been through a relationship break-up and was having trouble finding work due to the drought.

While Magistrate Michael King accepted MacDonald's remorse, he described the offending as "disgraceful, appalling behaviour" and said he appeared to have taken pleasure in inflicting pain on helpless creatures.

MacDonald was sentenced to 42 days in custody and fined $800.

He lodged an appeal and will be released on bail until its hearing at a later date.

An animal advocacy group has slammed a 42-day jail sentence given to a man who mowed down emus with his ute on an outback Victorian road and posted the footage online.

Jacob Scott MacDonald committed the sickening attack on Pellaring Road at Cowangie in September late last year.

"[This] really flies in the face of what the community expect," the animal advocacy and rescue group's chief executive Megan Davidson said.

"Clearly the message that is being given here ... is that this is not a very serious crime."

Dr Davidson said MacDonald should have been jailed for at least a year.

"At least he's got a custodial sentence, but it's an inadequate one," she said.

"There is movement. The courts never used to give custodial sentences for cruelty against animals."

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