Police: Animal cruelty charges filed in case of juvenile abusing cat on video
Published 5:24 pm Thursday, December 8, 2022
Elizabethton Police have charged a juvenile with animal cruelty after a social media video showed the teen punching a cat.
Chief Jason Shaw with the department confirmed the arrest Thursday morning. “Normally, we don’t release anything regarding juvenile matters; however, since this is a matter of concern, I will confirm that animal cruelty charges were filed yesterday in juvenile court regarding that incident.”
No other details were provided.
Parents and community members raised concerns Wednesday after videos circulated on social media showing a teenage boy punching a cat in what he said to the camera was an effort to teach it not to scratch and bite.
The teen, identified on social media as a student at Elizabethton High School, was seen in another video attempting to prove the effectiveness of a homemade body armor device by stabbing himself in the stomach.
Public comment quickly turned to outrage and concern, citing the crime of animal cruelty and questioning the safety of fellow students at the school.
The Elizabethton Police Department made a statement Wednesday afternoon, acknowledging awareness of the incident.
“Our department is investigating the incident and are working as promptly as they can,” the EPD said in a statement on social media. “While we understand the frustration, and the many concerns, the law still has to be followed. Unfortunately, investigations do take time.”
Richard VanHuss, director of schools for Elizabethton City Schools, also issued a statement, saying simply “The district is aware of public concern regarding some information circulating on social media. As always, school and school system officials are working to ensure the safety of all students and staff. School safety continues to be a top priority for the district.”
The police department said updates would be shared as they become available.
“We understand the importance of this case, and the department wants to assure everyone the safety of both the children and the community as a whole is our top priority.”