Man charged for animal cruelty after viral video showed him running over emus
A MAN from a Victorian rural community only kilometres from the South Australian border has been charged with filming himself deliberately running over numerous emus on a country road.
The 20-year-old man from Cowangie, a short distance from the South Australian border town of Pinnaroo, was charged after being interviewed by police, after the footage went viral on social media.
The man is filmed behind the wheel of a white 4WD, laughing hysterically, as he runs down multiple emus on an unidentified country road.
The man counts out the emus as he runs them down.
The video is believed to have been filmed between September 1 and September 20.
Victorian police based out of Ouyen charged the man with numerous cruelty to animal charges, tormenting an animal, destruction of protected wildlife and traffic offences including using a phone while driving and speeding.
He will face court in Ouyen on November 9.
The footage, which was widely shared online, prompted the RSPCA to launch a national investigation in a bid to find the man.
Several other people were wrongly identified on social media, including a 19-year-old Melbourne man who received death threats after he was linked to the video.
Yesterday RSPCA SA acting chief inspector Cheryl Doudle thanked the public for their help in the investigation which had left investigators outraged and angry.
“The RSPCA would like to thank the many members of the community who have reached out with their support and to provide information with regard to the video,” Ms Doudle said.
“We can confirm at this time that RSPCAs across Australia are working together to follow up a number of leads.
“The community is understandably outraged and angry about this vision — as are we. But we urge people to please contact the RSPCA or police if you have any information about this case.
“We ask that people do not ‘name and shame’ alleged suspects on social media. This both compromises potential prosecutions, as well as risks incorrectly identifying innocent people.”
RSPCA SA media manager Carolyn Jones said the footage was horrific.
“We will be trying to establish the identity of this man through any means we can,” Ms Jones said.
“We are shocked and horrified by the footage, and horrified for animals to be treated in this way as any reasonable person would be. But this is a legal matter that needs to be handled by the appropriate process.”