- Florida, USA -
The Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office announced the arrest of 65-years-old OSVALDO ALOMA GARRIDO (pictured), an Alonso High School janitor, for shooting at cats.
The sheriff’s office said that on the evening of November 12, 2022, deputies responded to a home in the 9700 block of Elm Way in the Three Lakes Mobile Home Park, in reference to a neighbor's call reporting they heard shots and saw GARRIDO carrying a pellet rifle in front of his home.
According to a news release, one witness told deputies that he retrieved GARRIDO’s rifle and stored it inside his home without any resistance from GARRIDO. At the time, deputies determined no crime was committed and did not find any animals suffering from a shooting, nor did any witnesses see GARRIDO firing shots at animals.
More than a week later, however, detectives interviewed a witness in the same area who stated that a cat was found with several pellet shot wounds in his/her body several weeks before that date. As part of the investigation, detectives obtained records from a local veterinarian who confirmed the cat sustained multiple injuries from a pellet gun.
When deputies interviewed GARRIDO on November 22, 2022, he admitted to shooting at multiple cats in the area.
On November 30, 2022, deputies executed a warrant and GARRIDO was placed under arrest on one charge of aggravated cruelty to animals with a weapon.
FOX 13 reports that resident Kathryn Barnes and her boyfriend look after the homeless cats in Three Lakes Mobile Home Park and said that over the last year and a half, seven cats have been shot and three have died. One of the surviving cats, Buddy, has a broken front leg and might have one of his back legs amputated after being shot either on November 5, or November 6.
Before GARRIDO’s arrest, Kathryn told FOX 13: “I am angry, I am upset and I don’t understand how people can do this.”
Residents at Three Lakes Mobile Home Park said there may be several hundred feral cats living in the community and for many of them, it's the only home they've ever known.
Ms. Jennifer Tate, a volunteer with St. Francis Society, told FOX 13: “These poor cats. They didn't ask to be born. They are just living their life. Somebody is taking pleasure out of torturing them.” Volunteers with the rescue said they were organizing fundraisers and vet visits for the wounded cats.
Hillsborough County Schools said GARRIDO is facing termination based on his felony charge. “He has worked for the district since 2017 and had not experienced disciplinary action prior to the arrest, according to the district,” reports WFLA. The news agency further reports that Hillsborough County Jail records show GARRIDO is from Cuba and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has been notified of his arrest.
GARRIDO was booked at the Orient Road Jail under a $7,500 bond.
Hillsborough County Sheriff Chad Chronister said: “I will not tolerate any act of animal cruelty in our county. The suspect had no regard for the animals he injured and admitted to firing shots on various occasions. It's disheartening to know that there are individuals who intentionally harm animals. We will not condone violence against any animal and we will continue to make sure that individuals who commit these crimes are held accountable.”
This investigation is active.
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