Earlier this week, people across Australia and the world were disgusted when video footage of a man deliberately mowing down emus in his car went viral online.
Now, in an exclusive chat with 7 news, the man has broken his silence over the matter and has responded to the outrage his disturbing act of animal violence has caused. He described the incident as “the biggest stuff-up of my life” and that he wasn’t proud of what he’d done.
“It was a mistake, a silly idea,” he told a reporter. “It’s not funny anymore. It was at the time but yeah, watched it a few more time and it lost its funniness.”
The man, who 7 News named as 20-year-old Jacob McDonald, said he thought the animals would get out of the way but that they just stayed there. In the footage, the emus could be seen frantically running for their lives as McDonald’s car approached them from behind.
He admitted he has deleted Facebook and social media since the clip went viral, so doesn’t know what people have been saying about him. In the interview, he also claimed he pulled up to check if the emus he had hit were actually dead.
“It wasn’t so funny after that,” he admitted, explaining to the reporter that he would have killed any of the emus that were alive to “put it out of its misery”.
He described his actions as “out of character” and couldn’t explain why he did it. McDonald also said that one of his parents is a police officer. He laughed when he admitted the parent called him a “dumb ass” when they found out what he’d done.
“[They’re] pretty disappointed but I stuffed up, got to face the music,” he said.
During the interview, he said he thought he killed seven emus and blasted the mate he sent the video to for sharing it online.
“Someone’s obviously not as good of a mate as I thought,” he said. He also said he had nothing to say to them and admitted although angry, the words he would say to them weren’t “appropriate for camera”.
McDonald said the video was only intended to be seen by a few mates and that he wasn’t happy thousands of people have now seen it.
On Friday, Victoria Police revealed a man was set to be charged for the for the act of cruelty to wildlife. Police believe the shocking incident took place over the past two weeks in Cowangie, in Victoria’s north-west.
He is expected to be charged with a number of offences including aggravated cruelty to an animal, cruelty to an animal, torment to an animal, destruction of protected wildlife, as well as traffic related offences for using a mobile phone while driving and speeding. He will face court on November 9.
In the footage, McDonald could be seen laughing as he intentionally drove his 4WD into the emus.
“F****** emus,” he laughed as he hit the birds. “This is f****** great. Yes.”
As if the attack was a sick game, the man could also be heard praising himself whenever he hit another emu. “I’ve got that one too … and that one.”
The RSPCA issued a statement at the time, condemning the video.
“The RSPCA, like many members of the community, has today been shocked and horrified by footage released on social media, showing a man who appears to be deliberately running down a mob of emus in his car,” a statement read.