High school football players filmed torturing and strangling duck to death will not be criminally charged
The school superintendent announced that they would be suspended for up to five games and made to give community service for the incident.
NORTH CONWAY, NEW HAMPSHIRE: A group of New Hampshire high school football players will be reprimanded after they were caught on video torturing and beating a duck to death. Between three and six students, all of whom attended Kennett High School in North Conway, were filmed in the act while they were attending a school-sponsored camp held on the grounds of Camp Winaukee in Moultonborough from Aug 20-22, according to the Conway Daily Sun.
In the video, the group, none of whom was a senior, lure the duck out of the waters of Lake Winnipesaukee's Moultonborough Bay, beat it with a broomstick, and then strangle it to death. Speaking about the incident, School Superintendent Kevin Richard told WMUR, "The heinous activity of a duck being hit over the head with a broomstick is what ended up happening. And then another student ended up euthanizing the duck. It was hurt pretty badly."
The students will be suspended for up to five games as punishment, with the level of punishment depending on the degree of their involvement in the incident.
Richard said that they would also be giving some form of community service. "Some mental health pieces, social and emotional pieces and educational components related to it," he revealed. However, they will not be criminally charged.
Once coaches at the camp were informed about the disturbing incident, police and the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department officials were brought in to investigate, and it was decided there will be no legal action taken against the group. "These students are juveniles, so they cannot be charged with anything," said Fish and Game Maj. David Walsh. "Their parents would be charged, and the fines are small, so suspensions and community service, everyone agreed, would be the effective punishment."
In a letter to the Conway Daily Sun, Melissa Wood, a community member, said she was "appalled" by the decision and that the students were "getting a tap on the wrist, not even a slap." "I would be mortified, embarrassed and very concerned about the mental health of the boys involved if I were their parents," she wrote. "These acts of abuse inflicted on innocent animals can be a precursor to more violent acts toward human beings."
Richard, however, defended the decision to not pursue criminal charges. "There are very strong opinions both ways, and you try to come back with what you think is reasonable, and also recognizing that these are adolescents that make bad choices and this was a grievous mistake," he said.
In June, two former Alabama college athletes were arrested on charges of aggravated animal cruelty for beating a duck to death with a baseball bat.