The man seen punching a police horse during the football violence in Newcastle at the weekend has insisted he is an animal lover.
Barry Rogerson, 45, from Morpeth in Northumberland, was caught on camera lashing out at a police horse before he was hauled to the ground by officers.
Speaking to newspapers today, the unemployed factory worker accepted he acted stupidly, but said the horse startled him and made him panic.
He told the Daily Mirror: "I reacted stupidly. I did not go out to attack a horse.
"I love animals - I've got three dogs, a fish pond out the back and I feed foxes across the road."
He said the pictures made the incident look worse than it was but that he had no excuse.