HEWITT - UPDATE: Monday 10/3/2016
The McLennan County Sheriff's Department said late Monday they found the true owner of the dog. It belonged to a family living in China Spring.
The man who came forward over the weekend claiming it was his dog, James Plant, was surprised to hear the news. He said he planned to contact the sheriff's department and the owner to see if there was anything else he could do.
A Go Fund Me, set up for Plant, raised more than $800. Plant told us Monday he will give the money to the owner of the dog if she's identified or to a local animal shelter.
Plant said his dog broke free of his collar to chase a rabbit in a local park about a week before the video of the dog surfaced.
The unsettling footage of a dog being shot was originally posted to Snapchat, a social networking application that allows users to share videos for a short period of time before they are deleted. The account behind the video belongs to a recent Midway High School graduate, who played football for the district.
Facebook removed the video Monday.
As of early Saturday morning, it was unclear whether or not the teen played a role in the dog's death or if the animal was deceased beforehand.
A Waco bartender posted a secondhand recording of the teen's original graphic footage, which she shared on Facebook Friday night to draw attention to the teen's disturbing post. By Saturday morning, the video already had more than 442,000 views. And, it had been shared more than 6,700 times on Facebook.
"I posted it because, as it goes with all things, when the public is outrages they cannot turn a blind eye to the subject," she wrote in an update on Facebook Saturday morning.
The Hewitt Police Department said it began investigating the animal cruelty video around 6 p.m. on Friday. On Saturday, police told Channel Six News they were questioning people in connection with the video.
"I want to ensure the public that we are working on this and gathering all the pertinent details at this time," Chief Jim Devlin wrote in a Facebook post of his own. "When we have further information, I will let everyone know."
The McLennan County Sheriff's office is investigating and said it's unclear if any laws were broken because the dog was already dead. The 18-year-old whose Snapchat account is at the center of this has deleted his Facebook page, but he is one of several suspects.
McLennan County Sheriff Parnell McNamara said, "It's sickening. It's sadistic, it's brutal. It's hard to figure out why anyone would do that to begin with, and then even more why would they put that on social media?"
Several studies have found a connection between adolescent animal cruelty and future violent and criminal behavior. The animal rights group PETA has written about how FBI research showed murderers often have histories of torturing animals. You can read more about that here.
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