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Valley Center high school suspends baseball season due to animal cruelty investigation

Kansas varsity baseball team accused of killing a chicken on field; season suspended

The Valley Center school district has suspended the high school varsity baseball team’s season due to an active law enforcement investigation centered around possible animal cruelty.

In an email sent to Valley Center parents on Monday afternoon, the district said high school administrators were “alerted to an incident of possible animal cruelty involving the entire Hornet varsity baseball team and the entire coaching staff on USD 262 property.”

The district noted that “immediately upon learning of the incident, high school and district leadership notified the appropriate authorities and suspended the season.” The baseball team hasn’t played a home game since April 4 and most recently played a doubleheader against Circle and Life Prep Academy in Towanda this past Saturday.

Due to the ongoing nature of the investigation, details of the alleged incident were not released by the district. When asked for additional comment by The Eagle, Valley Center principal Eric Flaton referred back to the district’s email as its official and only statement on the matter.

Valley Center police chief Lloyd Newman said his department launched the investigation after a report was made to the high school’s resource officer Monday.

Newman did not say what kind of animal may have been involved or describe the nature of the alleged incident.

The Valley Center baseball team is currently 4-12 with 10 games remaining in its season, including a doubleheader against Newton (Tuesday), a single game against Bishop Carroll (Thursday) and a league doubleheader against Andover Central (Friday) this week.

The district said in its email that a decision regarding the remainder of the baseball season will be made “pending the outcome of the investigation.”

Contributing: Eduardo Castillo of The Eagle