A 36-year-old Dunnellon man was arrested by the Marion County Sheriff’s Office after he was accused of poisoning several pets in his neighborhood.
On Friday, December 2, 2022, the Marion County Sheriff’s Office and Marion County Animal Services responded to the 20100 block of SW 84th Lane in Dunnellon in reference to a cat that had possibly been poisoned.
The pet’s owner advised that his cat, named “Mr. Cat,” was acting sick and seizing during the previous night. The owner transported Mr. Cat to Dunnellon Animal Hospital for treatment, and Mr. Cat ultimately passed away.
According to MCSO, further testing revealed that Mr. Cat had likely been poisoned. The cat’s owner advised that his pet dog, named “Bella,” had also died after experiencing similar symptoms.
During MCSO’s investigation, another neighbor advised that five of her cats have also died since October of 2022, and each of them had similar symptoms.
The investigation was assigned to an MCSO agricultural deputy who contacted a doctor at the University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine. According to MCSO, a necropsy was performed on Mr. Cat, and it was determined that Mr. Cat had died from ethylene glycol intoxication, which was likely caused by ingesting antifreeze.
The doctor met with the other neighbors who had lost pets under similar circumstances, and they granted permission for the doctor to perform a necropsy on the remains of their deceased pets. The remains of three of the pets – Bella and two cats named “Lil’ Peanut” and “Tiger” – were examined by the doctor, and it was concluded that they had also died from ethylene glycol poisoning.
MCSO stated that during the original call for service on December 2, deputies had located a bowl of tuna outside a residence belonging to Jeremy Gordon Stromwall, and the tuna appeared to be mixed with antifreeze. The tuna was tested by the medical diagnostic laboratory at Texas A&M University, and the results confirmed that it had been mixed with antifreeze.
During the investigation, the sheriff’s office discovered that Stromwall had allegedly made prior statements about harming cats in the neighborhood. He allegedly stated that he put out tainted food to poison the cats, including an attempt to get them to eat rat poison that was mixed with cat food, according to MCSO.
A search warrant was executed on Thursday, December 22, 2022, and Stromwall’s residence was searched by deputies. According to MCSO, the following items were located during the search: three containers of antifreeze including a nearly empty container of antifreeze concentrate, multiple cans of tuna, and fish-flavored rat poison.
On Wednesday, January 4, 2023, Stromwall was located, arrested, and transported to Marion County Jail where he is currently being held. He is facing four felony counts of aggravated animal cruelty.
Marion County Sheriff Billy Woods stated, “As Sheriff, I am committed to investigating allegations of cruelty towards animals, including pets, livestock, and working animals. I am proud of the work that my deputies did in this case and am happy we have gotten some justice for Mr. Cat, Bella, Lil’ Peanut, Tiger, and their owners.”