Former MTSU football player charged after beating puppy


A Middle Tennessee State University football player is charged with animal cruelty after he was seen hitting a puppy in a Snapchat video.

According to Murfreesboro Police, 21-year-old Shalom A Alvarez faces animal cruelty charges. Alvarez and Justin Akins were dismissed from the MTSU football team last week amid the animal cruelty investigation.

According to the original incident report, a concerned citizen filed the report after viewing a Snapchat video posted to Justin Akins' account showing a small puppy being struck several times. The report identifies Shalom Alvarez as the person striking the 3-month-old puppy named Rocko.

Rutherford County Pet Adoption and Welfare Services (PAWS) said the puppy was struck several times after urinating on the floor "as what was described as a form of discipline."

“We appreciate the concern that has been expressed by many regarding this case and are thankful that the process continues to seek justice for Rocko,” said Rutherford County PAWS Director Michael Gregory. “As always, if anyone thinks that an animal may not be in an ideal situation, we encourage that it be reported to our department for proper investigation.”

MTSU Athletics Director Chris Massaro released the following statement in response to the investigation last week:

“The actions captured on this video are obviously disturbing. We welcome the inquiry by the Rutherford County Pet Adoption and Welfare Services. We have high expectations of conduct for our student-athletes. Coach Stockstill has suspended these players until the inquiry is complete and they will perform community service to the benefit of local animal welfare efforts.”

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