Rabbit survives fire and water ordeal

Sunday, August 1, 2004

CASTRO VALLEY, Calif. -- Lucky the bunny is living up to her name.

It had seemed like luck had run out: Strapped to a powerful explosive with a lit fuse, Lucky was tossed into a lake.

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

Now Lucky's 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.

Sigmon said he fished Lucky out of the water to save her from drowning. But prosecutors charged the two lifeguards on Wednesday.

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

"I think that a lot of people are judging us without knowing us at all," Sigmon said. Asked why he fitted Lucky with the explosive, he said, "Um, that's a real tough question to answer."

Sigmon said he adopted the bunny after almost running over her with his car, but can no longer care for her because he's starting college this fall at University of California, Santa Barbara, where he plans to study biology.

Someone found the photos on the personal Web site of one of the suspects and posted them on Craigslist, the popular Internet bulletin board, where the House Rabbit Society in Richmond saw it.

Lucky is recovering at a foster owner's home, where she's snacking on hay pellets and doing well.

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