Stephenville police say they are not going to file animal abuse charges after a video of a child repeatedly striking a puppy with a stick surfaced on social media.
Jennifer Aikman, with the group Angels & Outlaws Second Chance Bully Ranch, said she received the video from a concerned citizen who leaves nearby.
In the video the puppy is heard yelping as the child continues to hit it.
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"I was shocked because that's just a behavior that pops out from anywhere. That's either a learned behavior or that is behavior from somebody that is extremely disturbed," said Aikman.
Aikman said in her opinion, not only is the treatment toward the dog abuse, it's a recipe for disaster down the road.
"This goes beyond that. That dog was in pain and he's such a little puppy he can't defend himself. But one day he will defend himself and when he does, he'll be the monster and he'll be euthanized," she said.
Aikman contacted police and at the very least asked for the puppy to be removed from the home.
However, police said they don't have a reason to do that.
In a statement Monday, Stephenville police said the dog in the video did not belong to the child or the child's parents. Rather, the dog belonged to a neighbor who was unaware that the dog had been mistreated by the child.
The police statement continues:
"The child depicted in the video is under 10 years old. Officers have spoken to both the dog owner as well as the child's parents who are both very concerned with both the child's actions as well as the well-being of the dog. The dog has been examined by the Animal Services Officer and the owner and appears to be in good condition."
As for why the child was not charged with animal cruelty, police say:
"The conduct in this video would be considered a Class A Misdemeanor Cruelty To Non-livestock Animals section 42.092 of the Texas Penal Code. Texas law does not allow for a child under the age of 10 to be charged with this criminal offense. The question has been asked why the parents of the child were not charged with animal cruelty. It was determined through the investigation that the parents were unaware of their child’s conduct and they were cooperative with the officers."
After receiving the police statement, Aikman posted the video to Facebook and has so far received thousands of comments and views.
"Oh, people are extremely outraged!" she said.
Aikman said regardless of charges, all she would like to do is have law enforcement remove the puppy from the home.
"They could've done more than what they did as far as I'm concerned. And that's why we're here today. I want that puppy out of that house," Aikman said.