A 13-year-old boy in Louisiana was arrested Monday and charged with animal cruelty after a video of his smacking a puppy emerged on Facebook.
Alexandria police say they received numerous complaints about the 7-second video showing the teen putting a puppy on a table and then slapping the little dog on the head. The puppy staggered away as several people laugh in the background, KSLA News 12 reports.
The boy reportedly deleted the video from his Facebook page, but not before others had a chance to make copies.
Police were chasing false leads before they located the puppy and identified the boy, but they say “social media is not the proper method for reporting criminal activity.”
“Many law enforcement agencies do not monitor social media 24/7," Sgt. Bruce Fairbanks said in a statement released by the Alexandria Police Department. "In fact, social media contributed to much disinformation regarding this case. Virtually every address for the suspect provided and attributed to social media was incorrect (although likely well-intended). Officers had to spend significant time and resources exhausting these erroneous leads - before locating the puppy and perpetrator.”
The Humane Society of Central Louisiana (HSCL) works with law enforcement to handle such situations on a weekly basis.
HSCL president Keri Toth told the Alexandria Daily Town Talk that thanks in part to Facebook, police were able to save the puppy.
“If it had not been a video, it would have gone unnoticed,” Toth said. “Too many times, over and over again, it’s not seen and the animals are the ones that suffer. We get abuse calls or tips a few times a week.”
Police say the puppy was moved to a safe shelter, has been seen by a veterinarian and is fine. The 13-year-old was released to his parents and police say "the final disposition of the puppy will be determined by judicial process."
(Photo courtesy of Alexandria Police Department vis KSLA)