He said it was an accident when he burned off his girlfriend’s rabbit’s ears. The jury didn’t buy it

Manasseh Walker
Manasseh Walker

A Englewood man was sentenced to one year in the Sarasota County jail after he doused his girlfriend’s pet rabbit with gasoline last year and set the animal on fire, burning its ears off.

Manasseh Walker, 23, was convicted of aggravated animal cruelty Tuesday after a two-day trial.

No one said they witnessed Walker light the rabbit, Thumper, on fire on June 12, 2016, but he admitted it to deputies with the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office, claiming it was an accident. Walker’s account of the incident, however, was inconsistent with Thumper’s injuries, according to the veterinarian who examined the rabbit.

Thumper lost its ears and sustained other injuries and is now cared for at the Wildlife Center of Venice.

“This was obviously a heinous thing to do to any living creature, so we are happy that the jury was able to navigate the evidence correctly and that justice was ultimately served,” Assistant State Attorney Dan Yuter said in a statement.

Jessica De Leon: 941-745-7049, @JDeLeon1012