Two former members of the University at Buffalo’s football team are accused of allegedly injuring a dog, according to the Erie County District Attorney’s Office.
Blake Hiligh, 19, and Zachary Pilarcek, 20, were each arraigned in Amherst Town Court Thursday morning on one count of overdriving, torturing and injuring an animal; failure to provide proper sustenance, a misdemeanor.
Both face a maximum sentence of one year in jail if convicted.
The DA’s Office says the charges come after an investigation by the SPCA Serving Erie County for a report of animal abuse earlier this month. After receiving the report, the organization seized a 4-year-old dog.
Spectrum News 1 has obtained alleged video of the alleged incident and is choosing not to show it due to the graphic nature of the incident, which shows one man allegedly beating the dog with some type of object while another man allegedly filmed it.
“I want to thank our partners at the SPCA for their work in this investigation and the many services that they provide to help animals in our community,” Erie County DA John Flynn said in a statement. “I also commend the University at Buffalo and the UB Football program for taking immediate action, which further demonstrates that animal abuse will not be tolerated in this community.”
UB football coach Maurice Linguist on Wednesday said the program has zero tolerance for this type of alleged behavior and after he learned of the incident, he says he immediately suspended the two men from all team activities before permanently dismissing them from the program earlier this month.