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Last Updated: Friday, 17 November 2006, 13:16 GMT
Zoo rabbit cruelty man's custody
Damien French
Damien French had also been given a supervision order
A man spared jail for feeding a live rabbit to an alligator has been sent to a young offenders' institution.

Damien French, 20, received a suspended sentence in April for the offence at Colwyn Bay's Welsh Mountain Zoo.

He has now been jailed by Prestatyn magistrates for trespass with intent to burgle at Rhyl Golf Club.

French, of Rhyl, admitted the offence, and the court activated three months of the suspended sentence and imposed a further month.

Jim Humphrys, defending, said an "extremely harsh sentence" had been imposed on a person of previous pretty good character.

He argued that as the offences were so different the suspended sentence should not be activated, and he supported the recommendation in a probation officer's report that a supervision order be continued.

But court chairman Jim Robbins told French: "It is so serious that only custody can be justified. You have shown a blatant disregard for court orders."

At the original court case, Llandudno magistrates heard that French dropped the rabbit over a balcony and an alligator named Albert took it in its jaws and killed it but did not eat it.

Then a young girl entered the alligator house and asked: "Is that a rabbit?"

French, from Rhyl, who had been at the zoo with two teenagers, laughed as his friend replied: "It was. It was running around 10 minutes ago."

The incident was caught on a mobile phone camera by another visitor who reported it to zoo staff.

French was also banned from keeping animals for 10 years.


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