A kitten that was rescued after being abused by an Ocala teenager last month has a new home – with Marion County Sheriff Billy Woods and his wife, Samantha.
Woods made the announcement on the sheriff’s office’s website alongside his wife while holding the kitten named Olaf. He vowed that the kitten will never again be abused and reiterated his commitment to helping to protect all animals across the county.
“It’s a serious problem,” Woods said of animal abuse. “And, for me, an individual (who abuses animals) has serious issues that can lead to whole different other avenues that we don’t really like to hear about.”
Woods said he and Samantha also have adopted four rescue dogs – two Labradors, a Catahoula and a bloodhound. He added that they lost one of the labs last week.
“Each of them come from their own unique issues and we rescued them,” he said.
In addition, Woods said, they have a rescue donkey named Simon and a three-legged miniature Angus cow named Bella. He said the small cow’s fourth leg didn’t quite develop in the ankle area.
“I call her a cow but she’s actually a dog, because that’s how she acts and that’s how my wife treats her,” Woods said with a smile. “In fact, when I leave the house, I’m pretty sure the cow is in the house being taken care of.”
Woods added that furry animals are “always on my heart” as he lightly rubbed the tiny Olaf, who still is recuperating from her injuries.
“Olaf here is going to be a unique kitty,” he said. “She now has the personal protection of the sheriff and she never will be abused again. I promise you that.”
Olaf came to the attention of many in Marion County in mid-February when a disturbing video emerged on social media showing a teenager throwing a rock at the kitten and severely injuring her. Sheriff’s deputies and animal control officers responded to the 2000 block of NW 40th Street and rescued the kitten, which had severe facial trauma and difficulty walking.
Sheriff’s deputies also identified the suspect as 15-year-old Isaiah Diehl, who turned himself in and was charged with one count of animal cruelty, which is a felony. At the time he was being held without bond in the Department of Justice Juvenile Detention Center.