A cruel driver who threw a tiny calf to its death from a bridge in Corsica after it peed in his car boot has been jailed.
It was not revealed where on the Mediterranean island the footage was shot but when it was published online by animal rights foundation 30 Millions d’Amis (30 Million Friends) it quickly went viral.
The man was identified as a young shepherd and has been named in local Corsican media outlets such as Alta Frequenza and Corse Net Infos as Jean Dominique Orsoni, 20.
The young man, from Niolu, a region in the Regional Natural Park of Corsica, in the heart of the island, was arrested and charged with animal cruelty.
The footage, which was shot in April 2019, shows him taking a young calf out of the boot of his car by its legs and tossing it over a bridge at night where it disappears into the darkness.
The man can be seen opening the boot of a Citroen C3 with a Haute-Corse (northern Corsica) number plate at night. In the boot of the car, there is the clearly terrified young calf.
The man says loudly: “Oh, he p*ssed everywhere, the prick!”
He then grabs it by the legs and, holding it upside down, swings it to his left and over the side of a bridge.
The poor calf, which seems to be very small, can be seen falling away before it disappears into darkness.
As the man throws the calf over the side of the bridge, the person filming can be heard saying: “Oh, oh, oh, oh sh*t!”
According to Alta Frequenza, Orsoni argued in court that he had thrown it off the bridge to put an end to its suffering, having broken its leg when he hit it with his car.
But the prosecutor countered that argument by showing the court a photograph of Orsoni posing next to a dead cat with a hunting rifle. An image that was retrieved by investigators from the defendant’s mobile phone.
The identity of the person who filmed the video is still unclear, but the other person in the video, not named in reports, testified during the trial, and said he was ashamed not to have been able to stop his childhood friend, who he said is well-liked.
The prosecutor for the city of Bastia, Caroline Tharot, requested 16 months in prison and a 10-year ban from owning an animal.
Marc-Antoine Luca, the young man’s lawyer, pleaded for leniency, highlighting that Orsoni was particularly distressed at the time of the event following a break-up with his girlfriend.
French newspaper Nice Matin reports that at the hearing, the young man refused to give the identity of the person who filmed the scene.
They report that his claim of having hit the calf with his car was rejected by a lawyer for the civil parties, Anna Maria Sollacaro, who put forward the fact that his vehicle had suffered “no damage”.
Finally, the judicial court imposed 10 months in prison, including six months suspended, the rest of the sentence being subject to a two-year probationary period and compulsory care.
Orsoni was also prohibited from keeping an animal for three years and will have to pay 6,000 EUR (5,406 GBP) in compensation to the civil parties.
Sollacaro, representing the Fondation Assistance aux Animaux, and Valerie Vincenti, representing SPA France (Societe Protectrice des Animaux), both civil parties, said they were “satisfied” with the judgment.
Sollacaro added: “This response shows that the seriousness of the facts has been taken into account. This decision, rendered by the criminal court, is also reassuring for the future, for all other cases of acts of cruelty.”
Contacted by Newsflash, Sollacaro said: “While we are satisfied with the sentence, in France the maximum sentence for this is two years in prison and a fine of 30,000 EUR (27,034 GBP).
“So we are still quite below what is laid out in the penal code. Nonetheless, at my level, from the point of view of Corsica, this is not a bad result. We, along with animal rights organisations, often have trouble bringing cases. Either because the prosecutor’s office is not interested, or because there is a lack of evidence.
“So this is a step forwards in the right direction, even if it is not even close to what is laid out in the law. It is not an exemplary sentence. The law has never been applied in Corsica on the same level as it was laid out by legislators.”
Contacted by Newsflash, 30 Millions d’Amis shared this tweet with the result of the case, which at the time of writing had 890 retweets and 2,100 likes since being posted yesterday (Monday 20th July) evening.
It reads: “#Mistreatment – The man who threw a live calf from a bridge in Corsica was sentenced to 4 months in jail, with continued detention. # 30millionsdamis had filed a complaint and was a #Civil Party at trial.”
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