DUNNELLON, Fla. - A Florida man was taken into custody for reportedly poisoning pet cats and a dog in his neighborhood, according to the Marion County Sheriff's Office.
Deputies said Jeremy Stromwall, 36, was arrested Wednesday on four counts of aggravated animal cruelty.
An investigation began back in December after deputies and animal services responded to a home on SW 84th Lane in Dunnellon in response to a report of a pet cat that had possibly been poisoned.
The cat, named, "Mr. Cat," had been "acting sick and seizing" the night prior, officials said in a news release. The cat was taken to an animal hospital for treatment where he later died.
The cat's owner told authorities that his pet dog, "Bella," died after experiencing similar symptoms in October. Another neighbor reported that since October, five of her cats had also died after suffering a similar experience.
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A forensic necropsy was performed on Mr. Cat which revealed the cat died from ethylene glycol intoxication, likely from ingesting antifreeze, authorities said.
Deputies gained permission from pet owners for officials to exhume other dead pets in the neighborhood to determine how they died. After examining the remains of Bella and two other cats, it was determined that they also died from antifreeze poisoning.
During the original call for service, deputies said they found a tuna bowl that had been mixed with antifreeze outside Stromwall's home.
Officials had also received information that Stromwall made statements about harming cats in the neighborhood. According to investigators, he allegedly said he was putting out tainted food to poison them, including attempting to get them to eat rat poison that was mixed with cat food.
A search warrant was executed at Stromwall's home, and during a search, deputies found three containers of antifreeze – including one that was nearly empty – multiple cans of tuna, and fish-flavored rat poison.
A warrant was obtained for his arrest. He was booked into the Marion County Jail where he remains, deputies said.