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An animal cruelty video raises concern from crime experts about the message it’s sending

Updated: Mar. 26, 2021 at 5:40 PM CDT
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NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) -A rat is trapped in a cage, doused with lighter fluid, and set on fire. While experts say the act is disturbing enough, they say what’s being said in the background on the social media post raises the level of concern.

“That’s what we do to rat out there. That goes for everybody, family and all,” says someone on the video.

“It’s obvious listening to the commentary of the people that set the rat on fire, it was a metaphor and a message on social media, that this is what we do to a rat. Anyone who cooperates with law enforcement, what we did to this animal, posted it on social media, set it on fire alive, is what we are going to do to you and your family if you rat on us,” says Rafael Goyeneche.

Police say the video was made in October of 2020. The NOPD, along with the SPCA worked together to investigate the case. This week, they arrested 28-year-old Ricky Wilson and booked him with aggravated cruelty to an animal, illegal carrying of a weapon, possession of marijuana, and possession of a stolen car. Police say Wilson filmed and narrated the incident.

He’s since bonded out of jail, and Wilson doesn’t have any prior charges in Orleans or Jefferson Parish.

Goyeneche, though, believes this case is serious.

“There’s more than one person in this video, and I suspect the investigation isn’t over yet,” says Goyeneche.

He worries people will become even more afraid to talk to the police after seeing the video.

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