Thursday 22 February 2018

Heroic pet rescuer hoping for shelter of his own

John Byrne received the ARAN Compassionate Award for his rescue of Barney
John Byrne received the ARAN Compassionate Award for his rescue of Barney

David Whelan

A homeless man who risked his life to save his pet rabbit after it was flung into the river said he hopes to find a shelter that will accept him -- and his pet.

John Patrick Byrne (38) yesterday received the Compassionate Citizen Award by Animal Rights Action Network (ARAN) on O'Connell Bridge in Dublin.

Earlier this month, a passerby grabbed his rabbit, Barney, and threw it into the River Liffey. Mr Byrne jumped in to save his beloved pet.

Mr Byrne said that despite not being able to find a shelter that allowed animals he would "never give them up" and would like to have more pets.

ARAN campaign co-ordinator John Carmody promised to work closely with Mr Byrne to find suitable accommodation that will allow him and his animals to live together.

The group also presented Mr Byrne with a supply of food for Barney and for his dog, Lilly. "It's not every day that someone risks their lives for that of an animal," Mr Carmody said.

Patsy Haverty, a close friend of John, said: "He deserves this award. He loves his animals and they are well looked after. He didn't think twice about jumping in."

Mr Byrne was reportedly offered a full-time job by a Tipperary farmer after the man watched the coverage of his bravery, but there has been no formal contact.

It is believed that Mr Byrne would find it difficult to leave behind his girlfriend of five years Inesa Tamulina (33), stating that Tipperary was "a bit far" away.

An 18-year-old man is due to appear in court on July 21, charged with cruelty to animals.

Irish Independent

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