Two University of Buffalo football players have been arrested after allegedly beating a miniature poodle with a leather belt, in an incident that was captured on video and shared to Snapchat.
Blake Hiligh, 19, and Zachary Pilarcek, 20, are now facing multiple charges including overdriving, torturing and injuring animals, said Erie County District Attorney John Flynn. According to Flynn’s statement, the suspects were captured on video beating the dog inside an Amherst apartment on June 13.
The following day, the local Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) took custody of the 4-year-old dog named Kobe. Kobe remains under the care of the SPCA at an undisclosed location.
Hiligh and Pilarcek — who ESPN reports played cornerback and tight end, respectively — were suspended from and then kicked off the Buffalo football team, following reports of the incident.
“The UB football program has a zero-tolerance policy for this type of behavior,” stated UB football coach Maurice Linguist in a statement given to The Buffalo News.
The SPCA claimed they were notified by an anonymous email sent to their Animal Cruelty Investigations Department on June 13, which contained the Snapchat video of the incident.
Pilarcek can allegedly be heard in the video “speaking off-camera about damage a dog did to a couch … and claims he will film the punishment the dog will receive,” according to an SPCA statement. The statement claims that “Hiligh, the dog’s owner, is then filmed yelling at the dog … and proceeds to beat him with what appears to be a leather belt.”
Both men could face a maximum sentence of one year in jail if convicted, said District Attorney Flynn.
At this time, it’s unknown whether either suspect has secured legal representation or entered pleas regarding the charges brought against them.