A graduate was arrested Wednesday while away at school after he allegedly killed a rabbit with a hockey stick and used the corpse as a puck.
According to the Providence Journal, Nicolas A. Coyle, 19, of Merrick, faces a felony charge of malicious killing of an animal and a misdemeanor charge of cruelty to animals after a Nov. 4 incident at Salve Regina University in Rhode Island.
"Any form of abuse or torture of an animal is completely unacceptable and is contrary to the values of Salve Regina University," the university said in a statement.
The Providence Journal reported:
Another Salve Regina student witnessed the incident from her second-floor apartment and called the Rhode Island Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.
"We commend and support all Salve Regina students who came forward with information to help Newport Police and the Rhode Island SPCA make an arrest in this animal cruelty case," the university said.
Currently, the university's plan for a punishment outside of the possible jailtime — which could be up to two years if convicted — has not been determined. Due to the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), Salve Regina is not legally permitted to disclose the outcome of any disciplinary action against a student.
"Salve Regina is conducting its own investigation and will take appropriate disciplinary action," the university said. "... Salve Regina has a range of sanctions from probation to dismissal."
The 19-year-old was a member of the Salve Regina lacrosse team in 2011, but is currently not listed on the 2012 roster.
Coyle, who was arraigned late Wednesday afternoon at Newport District Court, was given a Dec. 22 court date and was released on bail.