Two teenaged boys have been accused of torturing and killing a guinea pig and then drinking it’s blood, as part of a pre-game ritual. The young men are students at Grosse Ile High School near Detroit, where they are players on the Lacrosse team. The incident came to light when a teacher overheard some of the lacrosse team members discussing the incident at school, and reported it. Police investigation into the situation has revealed that numerous people were involved, although thus far only the two who are said to have initiated the incident are being charged.
Coolsaet slit the animal’s throat and then Roth beat it to death
18-year-old Tanner Coolsaet and 17-year-old Michael Roth arrived at an offsite pre-game meet with the guinea pig in a box. Apparently half of the lacrosse team was present at the time along with a few adults. There, Coolsaet slit the animal’s throat and then Roth beat it to death with a small bat. After it was dead the pair drank some of it’s blood. Several other teammates were said to have joined in on the blood drinking portion of the ritual and also painted their faces with it.
The resulting media firestorm has stirred up a much controversy including some very polarizing opinions about whether or not this was an acceptable thing to do. One of the parents of the students involved has made a public statement about the fact that he doesn’t understand what the fuss is all about. “Guinea pigs are like the Bic lighter of the rodent population, you can buy them for a couple of bucks and these kids did something that was going to amp them up and they had a little bit of fun with it. It was a little bit of humor, but I don’t think it’s that big of a deal.”
Most people have spoken out against the incident saying that it was a classic example of cruelty to animals. Other people have raised the issue of the psychological implications of animal torture done by people at a young age. The implication being that the torture of animals by children and teens is usually a precursor to other, more violent criminal behavior. In the words of Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy, “The alleged facts in this case illustrate much more than a youthful prank or a pregame antic. We must take these cases seriously.”
Coach Butch Ryan has said that the pair disappointed a lot of people. “They let a lot of people down,” he stated, “teammates, people in the community, school. They let themselves down.” Numerous students from Grosse Ile High in Wayne County, Michigan have said that they have been bullied by students from other schools since the incident and have had their school referred to as the “Guinea Pig School.”
Coolsaet and Roth have been charged with Killing/torturing an animal, and Conspiracy to commit killing/torturing of animals. These are both felony charges under Michigan law and if convicted, the pair are facing up to four years in prison. Both have posted $5,000 conditional bonds, which require that they not consume alcohol or purchase any pets. Their preliminary examinations are scheduled for 11 am on August 2nd.