DENTON (CBSDFW.COM) – The University of North Texas said it’s carefully investigating a video posted by a student, showing dogs attacking a raccoon.
Police and animal welfare agencies however, said they had no official complaints or open investigations into the video, which started spreading on social media over the weekend.
Khairi Muhammad, a member of the UNT football team, had apologized online for posting the video, before making his Twitter account private.
The video shows two dogs surrounding a cage with the raccoon inside. Someone opens the cage, allowing the raccoon to run and the dogs to attack.
Later a third dog joins the fray, while onlookers can be heard laughing in the background.
UNT, which had said it planned to use the incident as a “teachable moment,” said in another statement Tuesday that all potential violations of its student code are carefully investigated by the Dean of Students Office.
In social media replies to complaints online, the school said it believed the incident may have happened out of state.
Maura Davies with the SPCA of Texas, said cases involving cruelty to wildlife are not as common. However, while the agency is not investigating, she said it appeared the incident falls within the definition of animal cruelty.
“This is very serious, it’s very distributing, and it breaks my heart when I see it,” she said.
Davies pointed to Texas statutes on cruelty specifically describing “a wild living creature previously captured.”
The statute says it is a felony offense to cause one animal to fight with another, if one of those animals is not a dog.
Davis also raised concerns about rabies that could be passed to the dogs, and links between animal abuses, and societal violence.
Hunting raccoons is legal in the state year round, however license and permitting rules still apply, as do the statues on animal cruelty.
Muhammad’s post said in part, “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.”