Virginia police investigating after kitten pepper sprayed

Regional News
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Police in Bristol, Virginia, are investigating after a video has surfaced showing two teenagers pepper spraying a kitten, according to the Bristol, Virginia, Police Department.

The video, originally posted by the suspects to Snapchat, was captured and shared hundreds of times on Facebook. This has sparked a backlash on social media. 

“There’s a lot of people who love animals and are not gonna put up with that kind of thing,” says Capt. Maynard Ratcliff.

He said the suspect, 17, seen in the video has been identified by police and that she intended it to be a prank. 

“She was showing remorse and said she didn’t intentionally mean to harm the cat,” says Ratcliff. 

Petitions have been filed in Juvenile Domestic Relations Court. A judge will decide whether to pursue charges, offer probation or drop the case all together.

Ratcliff says the alleged female suspect is the only person with a court petition. The male who took the video will not face any charges. 

The cat is believed to have been a stray, according to Ratcliff. He said animals [like a kitten] don’t do anything to harm anyone. 

“We take any incident like this seriously because it is cruelty to an animal. The same thing if it was done to a person,” Ratcliff says.

Almost two weeks ago, another case of animal abuse was shared on social media. Warrior the cat was allegedly buried alive in Unicoi County, and also sparked an outcry online. 

Kevin King with the Unicoi County Animal Shelter rescued the cat, and took the case to the police and the district attorney. He says this abuse has to stop. 

“Oh it’s horribly disturbing. But at the end of the day it doesn’t surprise me with everything I’ve seen. We choose not to punish these people so they think there are no consequences to their actions,” says King. 

King says social media is the best tool to give a voice to the voiceless, like these two kittens. 

“The backlash from that is what’s pushing for something to actually be done. So the same thing needs to happen in Bristol and the same thing needs to happen everywhere.” 

Sources in the community say the kitten has been taken in by a family who lives in the neighborhood where it was found. Investigators are unable to confirm this at this time. 

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