Liam Neeson saved a stray dog from a pack of rock-throwing teens in New York City's Central Park earlier this week, solidifying his big-screen heroic persona through real-life action.
The 61-year-old Irish actor was reportedly walking through the park when he heard a woman screaming from an adjacent path, causing him to reverse course and run towards her.
"Abruptly changing direction, Liam charged down a path and confronted three gangbanger wannabe types who were throwing rocks at a stray they’d cornered up against a trash bin," a source told ShowBizSpy.com
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According to the source, Neeson charged the teens and "yelled that they’d better stop or he’d knock the c―p out of them."
The teens, however, didn't listen and instead walked up to the actor, warning him to back off and "mind his own business," to which Neeson "in a fury, warned them to back off fast – or else!" the source added.
Aside from his tough guy persona in movies like "Taken" and "Taken 2,"
in which he thrashes several dozen gang members on the big screen after they kidnap his daughter, in real life Neeson was an accomplished youth boxer, having become an amateur senior boxing champion in his native Northern Ireland before pursuing a career in acting, the BBC reported
Before the faceoff escalated, a police officer arrived on the scene, causing the teens to flee.
After the punks fled, Neeson reportedly remained with the injured dog, stroking the stray as the officer assessed his injuries. The extent of the animal's injuries and its current whereabouts was not reported.
Neeson, whose action-thriller movie "Non-Stop" opened in February, is at the center of another animal-related issue in New York City – the controversial horse carriage debate.
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The Irish actor has become the carriage drivers’ highest-profile ally in the ongoing controversy that puts him at odds with many in the city's animal welfare community who oppose the use of carriage horses, viewing it as outdated and harmful to the animal's well-being, considering they must track at least twice a day back and forth to the stables some 20 blocks away through congested Manhattan traffic.
In contrast, Neeson has argued the horses are well cared for and in the past chided newly elected Mayor Bill de Blasio
– who campaigned on the promise to get rid of the century-old Central Park attraction once sworn into office.
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