Will NJ teens be punished for savage killing of raccoon? Officials won’t say
LACEY — Authorities won't say whether the teens involved in recording the savage beating of a raccoon in December will be charged with any crime.
The video was first posted on the Ocean County Scanner News website in December and was met with disgust by most who viewed it.
The raccoon was seen in a steel trap and then is smashed at least eight times by an aluminum baseball bat.
The raccoon is trying to free itself as the 24-second video begins.
"Hit 'em, hit 'em, hit 'em," one teen says to the other, who strikes the critter in the head as it hisses.
Toward the end of the video, the creature twitches.
The Lacey Township Police Department said on Dec. 11 that it would investigate the incident with the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office and the state Division of Fish and Wildlife.
Ocean County Prosecutor Bradley Billhimer told New Jersey 101.5 that he is "keenly aware" of the public outcry regarding this matter but cannot reveal the outcome of the investigation because juveniles are involved.
"While we appreciate the concerns expressed by certain members of the public relative to this investigation, the fact remains that the incident in question involved juveniles. As a matter of law, by statute, information concerning juveniles shall be strictly safeguarded from public inspection and dissemination. This Office, as the chief law enforcement agency of Ocean County, would be violating the very law we are sworn to uphold if we were to comment on an investigation involving juveniles," Billhimer said in an email.
An online petition remains calls for the boys to be prosecuted and suspended indefinitely from school pending an "extensive psych evaluation", and for their hunting and trapping licenses to be revoked and for them to be barred from pet ownership.
According to the Division of Fish and Wildlife, raccoons may be hunted in New Jersey between October and March.
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