Video spurs investigation into animal abuse

SPCA looking into YouTube video showing a Penticton man biting the head off of a rat

“Disturbing” is just one of the words a BCSPCA constable calls a video they are investigating of a Penticton man allegedly biting the head off a rat.

BCSPCA Constable Cathy Woodward confirmed a video forwarded to them about two weeks ago from the Edmonton Humane Society is under investigation.

“It is disturbing. I actually don’t know what is more disturbing, the act or the fact there is a group of people cheering the person on to do it,” said Woodward.

The constable was unable to provide much more information than that because the incident is under investigation out of the Penticton office.

An email sent to the Penticton Western News included links to the video still posted on YouTube. While one link takes users to a page that says the video has been deleted, another goes to a YouTube page with a video titled, Kid bites head off a rat.

The one minute and nine second video depicts a young man sitting on what appears to be a reptile aquarium with others in the room egging on the man to “do it.” The young man is holding the rat in one hand, bartering for how many beer and liquor shots it will take for him to do the act. He holds the rat up to the video camera, telling the operator to do it, to which he responds “I am the designated driver.”

The young man then puts the rat to his mouth, drops his head down so you can’t see his face and the camera pans to the dark floor where it appears the head of the rat has fallen. The video then graphically shows the headless rat lying nearby. The crowd in the room call the young man “an idiot”, and screams of “that’s sick,” “I can’t believe you just did that” are heard. As of Wednesday, it had 202 views since it was uploaded on March 4.

Shawna Randolph, Edmonton Humane Society media relations, said about a month ago someone filled out a complaint form they offer online for people who are concerned about how an animal is being treated.

“When we saw (the video) we were very shocked. Horrified to see that someone posted something like this,” said Randolph, who did not say if she believed the video to be a hoax, but stated they take all complaints very seriously.

The Edmonton Humane Society sent the complaint to their animal protection department, who investigate under Alberta’s animal protection act.

“We did some investigating through social media to try and find what this person had been complaining about and we found that it had originated from someone who posted video on Facebook in the Penticton area,” said Randolph, who could not expand so not to jeopardize their investigation methods.

Once it was determined the video was posted from the Penticton area, Randolph said they alerted the Penticton RCMP. Randolph said in most cases of animal cruelty it is someone who is seeking attention.

“It is horrible because they are not giving the animal dignity and respect, no matter what kind of animal. If it is something that is real, it is very disturbing that someone does this to another living being. There have been many links for people that are very disturbed, that they start harming animals then eventually harm people,” said Randolph.

“It is not common that someone alerts us to a video. It isn’t something we see often, which is even more disturbing.”