A 19-year-old Florida man is accused of setting a caged cat on fire and feeding the animal’s remains to a pack of dogs in a horrifying act of animal cruelty that was caught on tape.
In the chilling video, Miami-Dade prosecutors said Roberto Hernandez was seen standing over a cat in a small cage, dousing it with some sort of flammable liquid and then lighting some matches and flicking them on the animal.
The cage immediately bursts into flames and Hernandez “leisurely grabs a drink and watches the defenseless caged animal burn alive,” prosecutors said in a motion filed last week, according to the Miami Herald.
“The defendant doesn’t stop there. He is seen opening the cage, grabbing the burned animal and throwing it to his pit bulls in order to finish killing the animal or to dispose of its remains,” Miami-Dade Assistant State Attorney Nicole Garcia wrote.
The initial crime took place July 10, 2016, outside of Hernandez’s home in Southwest Miami-Dade when he was 17.
Marlene Gonzalez, a tenant who rented a home on Hernandez’s family’s rural property, told police she saw the teenager douse the live cat with a combustible liquid. She said he was “very entertained” while the cat burned and died.
Gonzalez eventually reported the incident to Miami-Dade police officers, who arrested the teen in 2017. Hernandez has since been charged with animal cruelty.
According to court filings, Hernandez says the animal was not actually a cat, but instead a raccoon – which he killed because it was rabid.
Florida law defines animal cruelty as “unjustifiable pain and suffering” to any “living creature,” the Herald reported.
The newspaper also reported the farm where the incident took place had been used for illegal cockfighting matches in the past.
Prosecutors said they'd like to see Hernandez sentenced to a year in jail followed by probation.
Isabel Zapata, who rescues animals in her free time, told WSVN that she was not surprised by the horrific crime.
“The amount of abuse I have seen in the last 10 years I’ve been living in this neighborhood is, it just doesn’t impress me anymore,” she said. “At the end, nobody does anything. There’s a few rescues here trying to do what we can for the dogs, for the cats, for the animals but it’s not enough.”