Man arrested for animal cruelty

A 29-year-old Islamorada man who tossed two kittens from a moving vehicle on U.S. 1 was arrested Thursday.

Diego Torres Ruiz 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 Sheriff Rick Ramsay.

On Nov. 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 shortly thereafter. He denied knowing anything about the kittens.

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 nearby kitten ran into the woods and out of sight, but was later found by a Rain Barrel Village employee and taken to MarrVelous Pet Rescues 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.

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