two ex buffalo university Soccer players are facing jail time after they allegedly beat a dog with a leather belt for «damage» the animal caused to a sofa belonging to one of the players, officials and prosecutors in New York said.
Blake Hiligh, 19, and Zachary Pilarcek, 20, were arraigned in Amherst city court Thursday and charged with one count of excessive driving, torturing and injuring animals without providing adequate support after that an investigation linked the two. Football players to a June 14 incident in which a 4-year-old male miniature poodle named «Kobe» was videotaped being beaten.
SPCA communications director Gina Lattuca said in a statement that an anonymous email was sent to the organization’s Animal Cruelty Investigations Department just before midnight on June 13 and contained video of alleged animal abuse.
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«In the video, a man, Pilarcek, a native of Endicott, New York, is speaking off-camera about a dog’s damage to a sofa in a Sweet Home Road apartment he shares with the dog’s owner, Hiligh, a Maryland native, and says he will film the punishment the dog will receive,» it read. the press release.
According to Lattuca, the video was posted to Snapchat and showed Hiligh «screaming» at the dog and hitting it with «what appears to be a leather belt.»
The SPCA investigator then contacted University at Buffalo police, who received similar reports about the alleged animal abuse.
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«Kobe was rescued from the property and immediately transported to the SPCA Serving Erie County veterinary team for a full examination and any necessary treatment.»
According to Erie County District Attorney John J. Flynn, who announced the charges Thursday, the animal was treated for «bruises and abrasions.»
Flynn noted that Pilarcek, who is believed to have filmed the abuse, and Hiligh were «subsequently suspended and then kicked out» from the team.
The University at Buffalo did not immediately respond to Fox News Digital’s request for comment. It was not immediately clear when the players were released.
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Pilarcek is due back in court next month. Hiigh’s next appearance will follow in August. If convicted, they face up to a year in jail, prosecutors said.
«I want to thank our partners at the SPCA for their work on this research and the many services they provide to help animals in our community,» Flynn said.
«I also commend the University at Buffalo and the UB football program for taking immediate action, further demonstrating that animal cruelty will not be tolerated in this community.»