TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — A Florida man was accused of poisoning several neighborhood pets with antifreeze and flavored rat poison, killing them.
According to the Marion County Sheriff’s Office, deputies responded to a neighborhood off SW 84th Lane in Dunellon on Dec. 2, 2022, after a pet owner reported their cat may have been poisoned.
The owner told deputies the animal, named Mr. Cat, was sick and began having seizures the previous night. Mr. Cat was rushed to Dunnellon Animal Hospital, where he later died.
Mr. Cat’s owner told deputies his dog, Bella, experienced similar symptoms before she died in October. Another neighbor said five of her cats died since October, likely from poisoning.
Dr. Adam Stern with the University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine performed a forensic necropsy on Mr. Cat and determined that he died from ethylene glycol intoxication, which was likely from ingesting antifreeze.
Deputies returned to the neighborhood and asked residents if they could exhume the remains of their deceased pets to see if they died in a similar way. Three of the animals – Bella and two cats, named “Lil’ Peanut” and “Tiger” – were examined by veterinarians, who determined they also died from ethylene glycol poisoning.
On Dec. 2, deputies found a bowl of tuna outside of a home that appeared to be mixed with antifreeze. A Texas A&M University’s Medical Diagnostic Laboratory test confirmed the food contained antifreeze.
Investigators learned that Jeremy Gordon Stromwall, 36, was the owner of the home and had allegedly discussed harming cats with poisoned food in the past. On Dec. 22, a search of Stromwell’s home turned up three containers of antifreeze (including a nearly empty container of antifreeze concentrate), multiple cans of tuna, and fish-flavored rat poison, according to the sheriff’s office.
“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,” Sheriff Billy Woods said. “I also want to personally extend my thanks and appreciation to Dr. Stern and the University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine for going above and beyond the call of duty in assisting us with this investigation.”
Stromwell was arrested on Jan. 4 and booked into the Marion County Jail on four counts of aggravated animal cruelty.