BREVARD COUNTY, Fla. - Brevard County deputies say they have arrested a teenager who was recorded on a cell phone camera killing two animals. That video was then posted on Facebook with people around the world signing an on-line petition calling for an arrest.
The 17-year-old from Melbourne, who will remain unidentified, is now locked up in the Brevard County Juvenile Detention Center, charged with felony animal cruelty and discharging a weapon in a residential area.
On the video, you can see a raccoon, trapped in a cage, with a barrel aimed at its head.
The teenager kicks the cage as the animal appears to cower down in fear.
Deputies said the teenager's sister recorded the video. She can be heard telling the suspect, "don't do it."
Then, the teen shoots the animal in the face. It is unknown what sort of weapon the teen used, but it did not immediately kill the animal. Instead, the raccoon thrashes in the cage for nearly a minute, while the teen moves on to a second animal, an opossum.
In that case, the opossum was shot in the mouth and is seen bleeding for over a minute while also thrashing in its cage. A minute later, the suspect shoots the opossum again, but it remains alive.
"Killing the animal is the last resort," said Chris Mason, a nuisance wildlife trapper.
Mason said although killing a raccoon and opossum is legal, it must be done in a humane manner.
"A lot of people actually relocate them. In 90 percent of cases, like for raccoons and things like that, they don't have to be put down at all," said Mason.
Brevard deputies said so far the suspect's sister is not facing any charges, but they are asking anyone who has information on this case to contact Crimeline at 1-800-423-TIPS.
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