MTSU student charged with animal cruelty after Snapchat video

(Photo: Submitted)

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (WKRN) – A student at Middle Tennessee State University is now facing animal cruelty charges after a Snapchat video surfaced of a puppy being hit.

Police confirmed to News 2 Monday a warrant was obtained for Shalom Alvarez, 21.

The Snapchat video was reported sometime last week, prompting an investigation from both the Murfreesboro Police Department and Rutherford County PAWS.

Shalom Alvarez (Courtesy: Rutherford County Sheriff’s Office)

The investigation led to Alvarez and his former teammate Justin Akins being dismissed from MTSU’s football team.

One reportedly took a video of the other hitting a puppy multiple times after it urinated on the floor. In the video, the puppy yelps each time it is hit.

The players apparently told coaches they were simply disciplining the puppy because it had urinated on the floor.

Details of Alvarez’s arrest weren’t immediately released.

Rutherford County PAWS issued a statement after the arrested, identifying the puppy as a 3-mont-old named Rocko. The organization’s statement read, in full:

An investigation by Rutherford County Pet Adoption and Welfare Services (PAWS) and the Murfreesboro Police Department has led to an animal cruelty charge. Much attention has been given to the recent Snapchat video of a 3-month-old puppy, Rocko, being struck several times after urinating on the floor as what was described as a form of discipline.

Rutherford County PAWS Director Michael Gregory states, “Rutherford County PAWS was contacted by a concerned citizen regarding a Snapchat video they had seen of a puppy being hit. Due to the difficult nature of the case, Murfreesboro Police Department was contacted and Detective Kristy Inglish took a huge role in investigating and working to piece together the incident. The Middle Tennessee Athletics Department, mainly head football Coach Rick Stockstill, was very cooperative in our investigation as well. This is just one more example of several local agencies working together to ensure that our citizens, including those with four legs, are protected.”

“We appreciate the concern that has been expressed by many regarding this case and are thankful that the process continues to seek justice for Rocko,” Gregory adds. “As always, if anyone thinks that an animal may not be in an ideal situation, we encourage that it be reported to our department for proper investigation.”