A football fan in Britain who punched a police horse named Bud following a clash between Newcastle and Sunderland has been jailed for 12 months.
Barry Rogerson, 45, a Newcastle fan, had earlier admitted an offence of violent disorder. He was also banned from attending any football matches in Britain for six years.
Rogerson, of Hartlands, Bedlington, was charged after police clashed with Newcastle fans in the city after the Tyne-Wear derby last April. Sunderland won the match 3-0, its first win in Newcastle in 13 years.
Video footage was captured of police horse Bud, a Shire-cross who works with the West Yorkshire Police mounted unit, being punched in the head by Rogerson, who wore a scarf over part of his face, as police worked to control the unruly crowd.
An officer on foot immediately tackled Rogerson to the ground following the assault.
Rogerson, an unemployed factory worker, had previously denied the offence during his first court appearance, but changed his plea to guilty in September.
Rogerson was interviewed by reporters in the days following the attack, at times in tears. He apologised, telling reporters: “I reacted stupidly. I did not go out to attack a horse.”
He described himself as an animal lover.
“I am on medication and had been drinking, but that does not excuse what happened.”
Bud, a seven-year veteran of the force, escaped injury in the assault, but was given the next day off as a precaution.
The force received hundreds of messages of support for Bud.
Judge Paul Sloan, in sentencing Rogerson, said: “You attended the football match and by the time it ended you were much the worse for drink.
“You had taken it in conjunction with prescription medicine knowing you should not have done so.
“The crowd surged forward on two occasions and after the first surge you walked amongst the horses clapping your hands in excitement or pleasure at the events.
‘A horse started to move towards you and you were told to move back … You stood your ground and attacked the horse by punching it in the head.”
The judge said the mounted officer could easily have been seriously hurt if he had been unseated in the incident.