Teenager Charged in Opossum’s Beating Death

An 18-year-old was arrested in connection with a fatal attack on an opossum in a park in Queens, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals announced on Tuesday.

The teenager, Jordan Heuer, had made and posted online a video of the attack last year, the society said. The video, recorded at Peck Park in Fresh Meadows, shows young men smashing the animal’s head with a rock repeatedly as it tries desperately to escape. One of them is Mr. Heuer, the society said.

The video was spotted by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, which alerted the A.S.P.C.A., and the society began a criminal investigation in September, it said.

“This is a disturbing case of violent abuse in which the suspect went out of his way to not only inflict pain on a helpless animal victim by smashing it repeatedly on its head with a rock, but to also record and post the brutal event on the Internet,” Stacy Wolf, a vice president of the society, said in a statement.

Mr. Heuer, who was arrested Dec. 3, is charged with misdemeanor animal cruelty. While cruelty to pets is a felony in New York State, cruelty to wild animals is only a misdemeanor.

“This is precisely the sort of case that supports making the more callous acts that cause serious injury or death to wild animals into felony offenses,” Ms. Wolf said.

A bill before the State Assembly would make cruelty to wildlife a felony in New York.

Its sponsor, Assemblywoman Linda B. Rosenthal of Manhattan, renewed her call for the bill’s passage on Tuesday.

“Though these animals may not sleep in bed with us or jump into our laps, they are no less deserving of legal protection than are our pets,” Ms. Rosenthal said in a statement.

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