A Florida Keys man was arrested Thursday on felony animal cruelty charges after Monroe County sheriff's deputies say he threw two kittens from a moving car late last month.
One of the cats survived the ordeal and has now been adopted from a local pet rescue. The other, however, was struck and killed by a car, according to the sheriff's office.
Diego Torres Ruiz, 29, from Islamorada, was in county jail on $50,000 bond Thursday afternoon, facing two animal cruelty charges.
"I take these incidents very seriously, and I'm happy to report an arrest was made in this case," Sheriff Rick Ramsay said in a statement.
According to the sheriff's office, on Nov. 28, a motorist reported seeing two kittens tumble from a Hyundai Santa Fe near mile marker 87 on Plantation Key. Cars swerved on U.S. 1 to avoid hitting the cats, said sheriff's office spokesman Adam Linhardt.
Witnesses told deputies the cars tag number and described the model, Linhardt said. Deputies pulled Ruiz over moments later, but he denied knowing about the cats.
Deputies searched for the kittens, later finding one dead, apparently hit by a car, Linhardt said. The other cat ran into the woods and was found alive near the Rain Barrel Village, an art shopping center on Plantation Key. The original witness adopted the cat and told deputies it was was the one seen being tossed from the car, Linhardt said.
That person also identified Ruiz's Hyundai as the car from which the cats were tossed from, according to the sheriff's office. Deputies notified the Monroe State Attorney's Office and obtained a warrant for Ruiz's arrest, Linhardt said.