A 29-year-old Florida man who tossed two kittens from a moving vehicle on U.S. 1 was arrested Thursday.
Diego Torres Ruiz, 29, of Islamorada, was charged with two counts of animal cruelty.
“I take these incidents very seriously, and I’m happy to report an arrest was made in this case,” said Monroe County Sheriff Rick Ramsay.
According to investigators, on November 28, a motorist reported seeing two kittens tumble from a northbound Hyundai Santa Fe near Mile Marker 87, causing vehicles to swerve to avoid hitting them.
The witness provided the tag number and description of the suspect vehicle. The suspect, later identified as Ruiz, was stopped soon after but denied knowing anything about the kittens.
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The cats were not immediately found, and Ruiz was released. The Sheriff’s Office continued to search for the kittens.
Later on Nov. 28, one kitten was found dead by the Sheriff’s Office after apparently being struck by a vehicle.
A second kitten nearby ran into the woods and out of sight but was later found by a Rain Barrel Village employee and taken to Whiskers & Paws in Key Largo with non-life-threatening injuries.
The witness adopted the kitten that survived and confirmed the kittens looked like those from the incident on U.S. 1.
The witness also identified Ruiz’s vehicle as the suspect vehicle on the highway.
The Sheriff’s Office notified the State Attorney’s Office, and warrants were obtained for Ruiz’s arrest.
Ruiz is being held on a $50,000 bond in Monroe County.