Hare today, gone tomorrow: Man stole live animals

The story of nine hares will be filed in the unusual crimes department and the young man who stole them had penalty in his case put back for four months.

File photo.

Inspector Gary McPolin said yesterday that the theft of the hares was spotted by gardaí who became suspicious of a vehicle parked in the Blarney area on an afternoon shortly before Christmas.

“On December 15, 2017, at 2.30 in the afternoon, gardaí observed a car parked in somewhat unusual circumstances at Shean Lower, Blarney, Co Cork,” Inspector Gary McPolin said yesterday at Cork District Court.

“The driver’s door was open and the engine was running. It also had an enclosed trailer attached to it.

“The registered owner was Arthur McCarthy who was with the vehicle.

“Gardaí found a box containing five hares next to the trailer and four more hares in the trailer.”

While 18-year-old Arthur McCarthy, of bay 5, Spring Lane halting site, Blackpool, Cork, was reluctant to give any explanation to gardaí for his unusual live cargo on the day, he did plead guilty to the charges of stealing the box and the nine hares at Cork District Court yesterday.

Insp McPolin said: “The treasurer from Cork Coursing Club later identified the hare box and the nine hares as being the property of the club. All nine hares were tagged.

“The value of the box was €20 and the nine hares were collectively valued at €1,080.”

Because the accused had no previous convictions, Judge Olann Kelleher said he would put back penalty to see how the defendant would behave in the meantime warning that if there was any more trouble all bets were off.

Frank Buttimer, solicitor, said: “This is a first — the theft of hares. It certainly ranks in the unusual department.

“The guards asked him how the hares ended up there and he was not forthcoming at the time. They have since been given back to the owners. He accepts he was there and the hares were in his car.

“He did not accept criminal responsibility at the time. He did not want to be forthcoming, maybe because he did not have full responsibility. But he did have partial responsibility.”

There was no suggestion yesterday that this distinction was a case of splitting hairs.

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