It’s hard to understand how someone could beat an animal to death with a rock, and then proudly post a video of the grisly scene online. And yet, that’s exactly what one individual did. On December 3, ASPCA Agents arrested Jordan Heuer for attacking, injuring and causing the death of an opossum in a Queens, New York, park.
After the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) received complaints about a video of the incident posted online, the organization referred the issue to the ASPCA. We opened a criminal investigation.
“This is a disturbing case of violent abuse in which the suspect went out of his way to not only inflict pain on a helpless animal victim by smashing it repeatedly on its head with a rock, but to also record and post the brutal event on the Internet,” says Stacy Wolf, Vice President and Chief Counsel of the ASPCA’s Humane Law Enforcement and Legal Advocacy departments.
Heuer, 18, was charged with one count of misdemeanor animal cruelty—under current New York law, felony animal cruelty charges can be brought only in cases involving companion animals. If convicted, he faces up to one year in jail and/or a $1,000 fine.
“This is precisely the sort of case that supports making the more callous acts that cause serious injury or death to wild animals into felony offenses,” Wolf notes, citing the extreme depravity of the opossum’s death.
We couldn’t agree more, and our Government Relations team is on the case. Bill Ketzer, ASPCA Senior Director of Government Relations for the Northeast, adds: “We will continue to work with legislators…to help shape laws to cover these types of especially heinous acts, regardless of whether the animal victim is a pet or a wild animal.”
If you’ve witnessed abuse, don’t hesitate: Report animal cruelty.