A group of high school football players in New Hampshire have been caught on video luring a duck from the water before beating it with a broomstick then strangling it to death.
A number of students from Kennett High School were suspended from getting back on the field as a result of their involvement in the killing of the animal while at a training camp in late August, local news outlet WMUR reported.
In the footage the students can be seen luring the duck out of the water, before one of the players hits it over the head.
Kennett Consolidated School District Superintendent Kevin Richard described it as a “heinous activity” that saw the duck badly maimed.
He said the act of strangling was one of the other students “euthanising” the duck.
Mr Richard said once the coaches were informed, police and New Hampshire Fish and Game officials were brought in to investigate.
Fish and Game’s Major David Walsh said at the end of the investigation a call was made not to charge the students as it would not achieve anything.
“These students are juveniles, so they certainly can’t be charged with anything. Their parents would be charged, if we charged them, and the fine amounts would be minuscule. So, suspensions and community service, everyone agreed was the effective punishment,” he said.
Instead some students were suspended from the games, others were given community service amidst a range of other punishments depending on their level of involvement in the incident.
The school has since received a number of calls from the public who are outraged by the act of animal cruelty.
Mr Richard acknowledged their sentiments, but said the school had acted in a "reasonable" manner to the boys' actions.
"You do have very strong opinions both ways, and you try to come back to what you think is reasonable and also recognising that these are adolescents that make bad choices. This was a grievous mistake,” Richard said.
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