Roberto Hernandez was facing animal cruelty charges after he was recorded setting a cat on fire and feeding its carcass to his dogs. A judge in the Miami-Dade jurisdiction decided it wasn’t enough to recommend jail time.
Security footage from neighbor Marlene Gonzalez’ home showed Hernandez pouring a combustible liquid on the cat, which was trapped in a cage, then lighting matches and flicking them at the animal.
He watched the cat burn to death, writhing in pain, then fed it to his dogs.
“He was very entertained burning the cat,” Marlene Gonzalez, who lives nearby and recorded the incident on a security camera.
The incident took place on July 10, 2016, but the video was not released until March 2019.
“Animal abuse cases have been a long-standing priority of the Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office,” the office released in a statement. “We will continue to pursue the prosecution of all animal abuse cases as far as the evidence and Florida Law will allow.”
Miami-Dade resident Isabel Zapata, who rescues animals as a side project, said abuse like this is uncommon, and horrific, but it’s not new.
“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 told the Miami-Herald. “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.”
Hernandez was ordered to perform 100 hours of community service and 5 years of probation.
Matthew Russell is a West Michigan native and with a background in journalism, data analysis, cartography and design thinking. He likes to learn new things and solve old problems whenever possible, and enjoys bicycling, going to the dog park, spending time with his daughter, and coffee.
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