Flint, MI — A man is now charged after a disturbing video went viral. The video showed a 4-year-old boy repeatedly throwing a puppy into the street.
Kevin Stange, the grandfather of the boy, faces animal abuse charges.
While the dog is doing fine, mental health experts said the boy in the video may need professional help.
The grandfather is in jail on animal abuse charges as well as a list of other felonies, but many are wondering what is next for the young boy.
“I guess the question for all of us is what is going on in his mind,” said Nancy Rodda, director at Genesee Health Systems.
She has seen her share of children in need of help.
After watching the disturbing video of a 4-year-old tossing a puppy into the street, she can’t help but wonder the same about the child. It’s a video that made headlines locally and across the country since TV5 first aired it last week.
“My first question for him would be, in his 4-year-old little mind, would be to have him tell me as much as he can about what he was thinking,” Rodda said.
It’s a question that has even baffled Genesee County Sheriff Robert Pickell. His deputies arrested the boy’s grandfather on Friday and Stange is now charged with animal abuse. Investigators said Stange was watching the boy at the time.
The sheriff couldn’t help but wonder if this is normal behavior and where the boy learned it from.
“I just couldn’t believe my eyes. When you see the way he picked this puppy up and threw it again and again and again, you know it just didn’t start,” Pickell said.
Rodda said it’s unclear from the video if the child has a history of aggression, but she said what is clear is that this behavior is not healthy for a young developing mind.
“The most important thing in a developing child is for them to learn to have compassion for others,” she said.
According to Rodda, that includes animals. She fears what this aggression could lead to if not corrected soon.
“It’s only prudent for someone, whoever is the guardian of this child, the parent of this child, to take this child and have him evaluated,” she said.
Rodda said that help doesn’t necessarily mean a trip to see a therapist, perhaps better guidance and discipline from his parents.
She insists any physical discipline, as in spanking, would do this child more harm than good.
“You don’t teach a child not to hurt something physically by hurting them physically,” Rodda said.
As for the grandfather, one can only wonder what role he played in this very violent behavior.
TV5 is told the puppy is doing fine and waiting to be adopted.
In the meantime, Stange is expected to be back in court Tuesday morning for a pretrial hearing in district court.
According to police, Stange is also facing felony assault charges for an alleged altercation with the man who originally called police, who is the same person who captured the video. Stange was also charged with felony firearm.
If convicted of animal abuse Stange could spend up to four years behind bars.
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