2 MTSU football players under investigation for animal cruelty - WSMV News 4

2 MTSU football players under investigation for animal cruelty

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A screen capture of Justin Akins' Snapchat video. (WSMV) A screen capture of Justin Akins' Snapchat video. (WSMV)

Two MTSU football players are under investigation for animal cruelty.

A Snapchat video is at the center of it all. Officials said the video was posted on Justin Akins’ social media account last month.

A concerned citizen was able to record the video from her iPad because Snapchat posts disappear after a certain amount of time.

In the video, police said Shalom Alvarez, who is a linebacker for MTSU's football team, is seen hitting the dog. Police said he grabbed the dog from under the bed and forcefully hit the puppy at least five times. The puppy can be hearing crying in pain with each hit.

Police said Akins, a redshirt senior football player, posted the video with the comment "[Expletive] said you don't pay rent."

Akins and Alvarez were suspended from the football team on Wednesday.

Rutherford County Animal Control investigators said when they were trying to track Akins down for an interview at the College Grove apartments, they found he was evicted last May and not allowed there or at Aspen Heights for a shooting incident involving police.

Channel 4 also found Akins was arrested in January for resisting arrest and possession of marijuana.

MTSU head coach Rick Stockstill issued the following statement to Channel 4 concerning the alleged abuse:

I am aware of the situation and have talked to the players involved. The players explained to me that the puppy urinated inside and they were simply spanking it as a form of discipline. They told me there was never any intent to harm the dog. This was an important teaching moment. I talked to them about other approaches that should have been considered in this situation. And I pointed out how disciplining a pet in such a manner could be misconstrued, especially with the impact of social media.

The investigation into whether this was animal cruelty is still ongoing.

In the meantime, both athletes remain on MTSU's football roster.

The puppy did not belong to either football player. There have been no arrests or charges in this case. 

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