A University of Tennessee football player has been suspended from team activities amid an investigation into alleged animal abuse.
WVLT News reports that Aaron Beasley, a junior linebacker, is a person of interest in the animal abuse case, which involves a six-month-old kitten that had been seriously injured. UT student Kaylee Scarbrough, the kitten’s owner, told Knoxville Police that she was in the midst of moving when she returned home to find her kitten hiding under a dresser in her room.
Scarbrough was able to reach the kitten, but when she did so found that he would squeal in pain. She rushed her pet to a local emergency veterinarian, and discovered that the kitten had suffered a traumatic brain injury as the result of blunt force trauma, and internal bleeding and bruising to his left kidney.
“He was in pretty serious condition, he had evidence of pretty significant trauma, so we worked with our emergency team to get him stabilized as quickly as possible,” veterinary technician Bill Freeman told WVLT News.
Scarbrough reportedly told Knoxville Police that she believed Beasley, who is dating one of her roommates, had hurt the kitten. Another roommate told police that she had heard a roommate crying and pleading with Beasley before the kitten was hurt.
The veterinary clinic administered care to the kitten, and it was able to return home with Scarbrough. Scarbrough, however, was left with a bill totaling $1900. A local Facebook group raised funds to help cover that bill, and Scarbrough said excess funds would be donated to an animal hospital or cat rescue.
Nobody has been charged in the case. However, assistant athletic director for football communications Bill Martin told WVLT that the team was aware of an incident report and that Beasley had been “suspended indefinitely from all football team activities as we await further information.”