Case Snapshot
Case ID: 2594
Classification: Burning - Fire or Fireworks
Animal: rabbit (pet)
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Tuesday, Jul 13, 2004

County: Alameda

Disposition: Convicted
Case Images: 1 files available

Defendants/Suspects:
» Nicholas K. Sigmon
» Paul G. Collins

Case Updates: 2 update(s) available

The owner and a friend strapped to a  explosive with a lit fuse and tossed the pet rabbit into a lake.

Now the rabbits owner and his friend face misdemeanor charges of animal cruelty after photos of the July 13 incident surfaced on the Internet.

Nick Sigmon, 18, and Paul Collins, 20, are accused of taping an illegal M-1000 - a large firecracker equivalent to a quarter stick of dynamite - to the rabbit and throwing her into Lake Don Castro.

The explosive didn't blow up, and the rabbit was pulled out of the water.

Two other men who were present during the incident may also face charges.

Prosecutors learned about the incident after one of the men posted photos of their alleged actions on his personal Web site. Someone found the photos and posted them on Craigslist, the popular Internet bulletin board, where the House Rabbit Society in Richmond learned about the incident and pushed prosecutors to file charges.

D.A. Contact:
Steve Dal Porto, Deputy District Attorney
Alameda County District Attorney's Office
24405 Amador
Hayward, CA 94544


Case Updates

Nicholas Sigmon and his friend, Paul Collins pled guilty to misdemeanor animal cruelty on Wednesday, April 13, 2005.

An online posting containing shocking photos of Lucky alerted House Rabbit Society, a national rabbit rescue organization headquartered in Richmond, CA, to the abuse. HRS notified East Bay Regional Park District Police, who confiscated Lucky and placed her in HRSıs care. After providing her with medical and foster care, the organization adopted her to a loving family, where she now lives happily with other rabbit companions.

Judge Robert Fairwell of Alameda County sentenced Sigmon to 30 days jail time and Collins to 15 days in jail. The judge also ordered both men to attend acute psychological counseling, perform community service, and pay fines. Both men also may not own explosives or care for animals during their three years of probation.

HRS representative Erin Williams states, "Lucky suffered an atrocity at the hands of these dangerous and cruel individuals. While any animal abuse is completely unacceptable, the fact that Sigmon and Collins used live explosives and documented Luckyıs torture is shocking. This rabbit was a family pet ­ part of Sigmonıs family. While he should have cared for her and loved her, he instead tried to blow her up." Williams also commends the District Attorneyıs office, stating, "The DA clearly took this case seriously. Given that Sigmon also recently received probation for a DUI arrest in January, it was imperative that he receive intensive counseling for his dangerous actions."

Luckyıs guardian Rachel Hess explains, "Lucky went through a hell that no one should ever suffer. What Nicholas Sigmon and Paul Collins did to her was nothing short of sadistic torture and abuse. The fact that their heartlessly cruel act was also proudly posted on the web shows a blatant and callous disregard for life and the law." Like the thousands of people who wrote letters, signed petitions, and called the court, Hess encouraged the court to consider a sentence appropriate for the incredibly cruel act against a helpless creature.

For more information about Lucky, please visit www.luckyrabbit.org. For information about HRS chapters and rabbits available for adoption throughout the Bay Area, please visit www.rabbit.org.
Source: House Rabbit Society - April 13, 2005
Update posted on Apr 13, 2005 - 1:37PM 
The pretrial hearing set for Feb. 4th was once again postponed, the fourth postponement.
Update posted on Feb 6, 2005 - 2:41AM 

References

« CA State Animal Cruelty Map
« More cases in Alameda County, CA

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