Warsaw, N.Y. - In Wyoming County a 9-year-old Warsaw boy is facing felony animal cruelty charges after police say he beat a neighbor's dog to death with a golf club in November. Then, earlier this month, police say he choked and beat a family puppy.
"A neighbor had seen the young boy striking something with a golf club and this is the same area where the dog was found," Warsaw Village Police Chief William Blythe said of the November incident.
Chief Blythe said the boy wasn’t charged in November as the dog’s owners weren’t sure if they wanted to press charges, and police weren’t sure if there was enough evidence for a conviction. Then police were made aware of the boy’s behavior with a puppy this month.
"The boy was allegedly seen with a small puppy on a leash and was choking the dog and then actually swinging the dog by the leash and striking a building with it,” Chief Blythe said of the July incident. “And he was seen doing that a couple times."
The allegations against this boy shocked many in this village of about 3,600 people. Since the boy was arrested last week, many have learned about the case and worried about his future.
"Very shocked--and wonder why a nine year-old would commit such a crime like that to an animal,” Carla Stephens of Warsaw said. “I think parents should be aware if their kids are acting like this towards an animal, there might be something down the line further that might warrant some action being taken, so I'm glad it did come out.”
"I just wonder what his home life is like to make him do something that horrible to an animal, to a dog no less," Rich Cuozzo III of Perry said. "I think there definitely needs to be some help and some discipline there."
"To me it means that someone didn't teach their kid right, you've got to work with your kids, you've got to teach your kids how to work with animals, that's what we're doing with him,” Sarah Whalley of Warsaw said while gesturing to her 10 year-old boy Sam who was helping her walk their family dogs.
"It can go from one thing to another,” Whalley said of animal abuse at a young age. “You start with an animal that is defenseless and then it goes to a child who is also pretty much defenseless and then it goes on from there."
The boy’s case will be handled in Family Court, meaning his name and the outcome will not be known to the public. Chief Blythe said his desire is not to have a nine year-old child incarcerated, but rather to get him the help that he may need.
"We're hoping that by doing this now, there can be some type of intervention taken,” Chief Blythe said.