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A viral video has sparked an investigation from Onslow County Animal Services for cruelty toward a snake. Whether you like snakes or not, it is impossible to justify these people’s actions as anything but cruel.

The video shows a group of young men standing in the parking lot of a Walmart surrounding a snake, which they appear to douse in a flammable liquid before burning the snake alive. Why it takes several men to take down one poor, defenseless snake, we don’t know, but watching this poor snake writhe in agony will make any animal lover furious.

Incredibly, the video shows a Walmart employee in the background also observing this torture, suggesting the company or at least its employees approve of such barbaric behavior. Casey Staheli, senior manager of National Media Relations, has been quick to dismiss this. Staheli said, “we do not tolerate the mistreatment of animals and are working with Animal Control Officers to quickly and thoroughly investigate the actions shown in the video. Appropriate steps will be taken to help ensure this unacceptable behavior does not continue.”

Anything that causes an animal suffering or death is animal cruelty, and the men involved in this case should be prosecuted accordingly. Studies suggest that there are strong links between violence towards an animal and violence towards people. 49 to 71 percent of victims of domestic abuse report their abusers also threatening, harming, or killing their pets. If these men are capable of killing a defenseless animal, it doesn’t bear thinking what they might do to another human being either out of anger, or in this case, for apparent fun.

Care2 has launched a petition asking for local police and animal control officials to investigate and find these men — and charge them for animal cruelty. These men need to be found and prosecuted before they can repeat their actions on other animals, or even other people. Please sign the petition to prosecute these men today.

Buzz Petition

Image Source: Thomas Hafeneth/Unsplash