Not many people are exactly fond of raccoons, what with their penchant to dump over rummage through trash cans and the fact that they carry rabies. For the most part raccoons are looked on as unavoidable pests that make messes for us to clean up and generally cause mischief for the humans around them. However, despite their firm status as wildlife pests, people don’t necessarily want these animals to be treated in inhumane manner or tortured just because they annoy us. The backlash against one student’s video of a helpless raccoon having dogs set upon it demonstrates this general disgust with the inhumane treatment of animals, even mischievous pests like raccoons.
A student at the University of North Texas, Khairi Muhammad, is now being investigated after he posted a video on social media showing dogs attacking a caged and helpless raccoon. In the video two dogs can be seen surrounding a cage containing a raccoon. After someone opens the cage, the raccoons bolts and the dogs take chase after it. A third dog is then set loose to join the other two dogs while they run after and attack the raccoon. People out of sight of the camera can be heard laughing in the background. The backlash against the obvious cruelty gained the notice of the university, as well as law enforcement and animals welfare agencies.
The university is trying to handle the situation, claiming they plan to use the incident as a “teachable moment,” and that all violations of the student are investigated carefully. While law enforcement and the SPCA are not investigating the incident, Maura Davies of the SPCA of Texas stated that the incident does seem to fit the legal definition of animal cruelty, specifically the Texas statute stating that making one animal fight another, specifically if one of those animals is not a dog, is a felony offense. The statute also mentions specifically “a wild living creature previously captured.” Davies also states that the issue of rabies is also a concern, as the raccoon could have easily passed the disease to the dogs during the attack. Muhammad, the student culprit, posted an apology on his Twitter account, writing, “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.”
Have you ever seen someone treating wild animals with cruelty? Did you do anything to stop them?