A Long Island teen attending college in Rhode Island has been arrested and charged with animal cruelty for allegedly killing a rabbit with a hockey stick and then using the carcass as a puck. Nicholas Coyle, 19, a lacrosse player at Salve Regina University, faces a felony charge of malicious injury to an animal. “Any form of abuse or torture of an animal is completely unacceptable and is contrary to the values of Salve Regina University,” the university said in a statement.
Another Salve Regina student told police he witnessed Coyle, who hails from Merrick, kill the cottontail rabbit with a hockey stick, then play with the body as a puck. Rhode Island Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals animal cruelty investigator, Joe Warzycha, recovered the rabbit's bloodied body, stuffed in a plastic bag in a trash container, and the hockey stick, covered in blood and rabbit hair, nearby.
Several other Salve Regina students told WPRI they were disgusted by the accusations: "It makes no sense to kill an animal for stupid pleasures," said Issa Demirgiogou, a Salve soccer player. "It kind of took me back for a second," said student Josh Crino. "I was disappointed, because we try to maintain a good reputation here at Salve." Coyle could face up to two years in prison if convicted of the felony animal cruelty charge.