A football player at the University of North Texas was caught on video in a group siccing a pair of dogs on a caged raccoon, then laughing with friends when the raccoon was attacked.
According to the school's newspaper, the North Texas Daily, Khairi Muhammad posted a video to his Snapchat on January 27 showing a raccoon inside a crate, with two agitated dogs barking at it. The raccoon is released and the two dogs, joined by a third, chase and attack it, while a group of people, including Muhammad, watch.
They can also be heard laughing about it on the video.
The video appears on the Daily's website and has been posted to Twitter by various users including one named @bbyjesus_, which has drawn more than 98,000 views. The story has been reported by national sites including Yahoo and Daily Beast.
Muhammad subsequently posted an apology on Twitter, although his apology extended only to the posting of the video and not for the act itself.
"I understand that the video that I took and has been posted to social media was in bad taste sincerely apologize for the insensitive nature of the content," he says. "I understand that I represent a lot of people and my actions also reflect on them. I will learn from this and use it to make better decisions in the future."
The University of North Texas issued a statement saying that the university would use it as "a teaching moment" but without any indication that charges would be filed.
"A member of our football team posted a video to social media portraying activities that do not represent the values UNT encourages," the statement says. "We have high expectations for our community members to behave in a manner that positively represents the university. Furthermore, the university has a student code of conduct, which all students are required to follow. While the player has since removed the video and apologized, our Athletics program plans to use this as a teaching moment."
A witness told the Denton Record Chronicle that the men watching the video used a stick to beat the raccoon to death after it was mauled by the dogs.
Kimberly Meeks, who works as an investigator for the Humane Society of North Texas, says that the actions in the video could easily warrant an arrest for cruelty, stating that it appears to show two violations: torturing an animal and causing one animal to fight with another.
"It could be a state jail felony of the third degree. It just depends what the prosecutor goes after," she tells WFAA.
Bryan Cose, media relations officer for the Denton police department, says that taking any action requires knowing where the video was shot.
"We are aware of the video but there is no information to indicate that it occurred in the City of Denton," Cose says in an email. "Should we determine that the incident occurred in our jurisdiction, we will investigate the matter."