MERRICK, N.Y. (CBSNewYork/AP) — A Merrick man attending college in Rhode Island has been charged with killing a cottontail rabbit with a hockey stick and using its carcass as a puck, Newport police said.

Salve Regina University student Nicholas Coyle, 19, was arraigned at Newport District Court Wednesday on a felony charge of animal cruelty and was released on bail.

Coyle has been on the school’s men’s lacrosse team, but is not listed on the preliminary 2012 roster.

Coyle’s lawyer, Susan Perkins, says he signed a waiver that would allow extradition from another state if he does not appear. She would not comment further.

“Any form of abuse or torture of an animal is completely unacceptable  and is contrary to the values of Salve Regina University,” the  university said in a statement. University spokesman Matt Boxler praised students who offered information helping police.

Long Island has been in the spotlight recently regarding cases of animal abuse. In July, a seagull was killed in Montauk when officials say someone threw a rock the size of a brick at the bird after luring it down to the beach with some bread.

Days later, two other seagulls were found, one impaled with an arrow in the Patchogue area and the other impaled with a dart in Sag Harbor, and an Eastern Box Turtle was found in Smithtown with a nail driven through its shell.

“I’ve never seen all of these cases before and I’ve been doing this for 28 years. It’s very disturbing,” Suffolk County SPCA head Roy Gross  said in July.

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