Juvenile charged with animal cruelty after graphic video caused social media outrage

Alexandria Police Department
Monday, February 3, 2014 - 4:16pm

The Alexandria Police Department has charged a 13-year-old juvenile with one count of cruelty to animals Monday morning, after a video surfaced over social media of the alleged attack and caused public outrage.

Sgt. Bruce Fairbanks of the Alexandria Police Deptartment, in a released statement, said several complaints were received at approximately 7:27 p.m., Sunday night, of a video circulating on Facebook showing a male abusing a small puppy. From these complaints, and from the source of the posted video, it indicated the attack took place within the Alexandria area.

As a result of the complaints and investigation, officers were dispatched and successfully located the puppy at a residence in Alexandria around 12:45 a.m., Monday morning. The male juvenile at the residence was identified as the person in the viral video, and he was charged and processed.

The puppy was removed by animal control and moved to a safe shelter overnight. The puppy has been seen by a veterinarian and is doing well.

The final disposition of the puppy will be determined by the judicial process. The Alexandria Police Department will not be involved in that process. However, Sgt. Fairbanks is confident that the puppy will be safely placed in a new home.

Sgt. Fairbanks wanted to reinforce to the public the importance of not reporting criminal activity over social media, but instead to report it directly to law enforcement when such videos posted are witnessed online.

"It is important to note that social media is not the proper method for reporting criminal activity," Fairbanks said in the statement. "Many law enforcement agencies do not monitor social media 24/7. In fact, social media contributed to much disinformation regarding this case."

According to Sgt. Fairbanks, even though well intended, reports over social media of the whereabouts of the suspect and the puppy were mostly incorrect. The erroneous leads caused a delay for officers being able to succesfully locate the accused and the puppy.

"Any person with direct knowledge relating to a crime should directly contact the appropriate law enforcement agency," Sgt. Fairbanks further added.

Additional charges against the juvenile will be determined by prosecutors and investigators as the case moves through the prosecution process.
 

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