Authorities arrested a 15-year-old Hollister boy on suspicion of felony animal cruelty after observing a social media video in which he is seen throwing a small Maltese dog to the ground, according to police.
On Jan. 30, officers from Sunnyvale Animal Control contacted Hollister Police Animal Care and Services regarding a report of animal cruelty in Hollister, according to a press release. The officers in Sunnyvale obtained a Snapchat video showing a young male suspect posing with a toy breed dog in his arms, before throwing the animal to the ground. The video appeared to show the puppy land almost 10 feet in front of him.
Hollister Animal Care and Services officers conducted further investigation and learned there were previous unreported incidents of cruelty involving the same dog and suspect, police said. Sunnyvale Animal Control also had information of a previous incident in which the suspect had allegedly kicked the dog, making it land several feet away.
Hollister officers confirmed the identity and address of the 15-year-old, whose name has not been released because he is a juvenile. The city’s animal control officers visited his home Feb. 1 and took custody of the dog depicted in the video—an 8-month-old black-and-white Maltese named “Bella,” who weighs almost six pounds, police said.
Bella was immediately transported to a veterinarian for a health exam, then taken to the Hollister Animal Shelter, police said.
On Feb. 3, the teen suspect was taken into custody at his home and booked at San Benito County Juvenile Hall on suspicion of felony animal cruelty, police said.
Bella will be housed at the Hollister Animal Shelter until the police investigation is complete.
Anyone with information about this case can contact Animal Control Supervisor Kara Ells at (831) 636-4320. Those wishing to remain anonymous can call the WeTip Hotline at 800-78-CRIME. Information provided to WeTip may qualify for a reward.