MARION COUNTY, FL – On January 4, 2023, Marion County Sheriff’s Office deputies arrested 36 year-old Jeremy Gordon Stromwall for four counts of Aggravated Animal Cruelty. According to authorities, on December 2, 2022, the Marion County Sheriff’s Office (MCSO) and Marion County Animal Services (MCAS) responded to the 20100 block of SW 84th Lane, in Dunnellon, in response to a report that a cat had possibly been poisoned.
The pet owner advised that his pet cat, named “Mr. Cat,” began acting sick and seizing the previous night. He transported Mr. Cat to Dunnellon Animal Hospital for treatment, where he ultimately died. Further testing determined that Mr. Cat was likely poisoned. Mr. Cat’s owner indicated that in October his pet dog, named “Bella,” died after experiencing similar symptoms. Another neighbor advised that since October, five of her cats also died after experiencing similar symptoms.
The case was assigned to Agricultural Deputy Steven Struble for further investigation. Deputy Struble contacted the University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine and made contact with Dr. Adam Stern who performed a forensic necropsy on Mr. Cat and determined that Mr. Cat died from ethylene glycol intoxication, likely from ingesting antifreeze. Later, Deputy Struble and Dr. Stern returned to the area, met with the owners of the deceased pets, and gained their permission to exhume their remains so that Dr. Stern could perform a necropsy upon them. The remains of three of the animals – Bella and two cats, named “Lil’ Peanut” and “Tiger” – were examined by Dr. Stern who concluded they also died from ethylene glycol poisoning.
During the original call for service, outside of Stromwall’s residence, deputies located a bowl of tuna that appeared to be mixed with antifreeze. Texas A&M University’s Medical Diagnostic Laboratory tested the tuna and determined that it had been mixed with antifreeze. As Agriculture Deputy Steven Struble continued the investigation, he received information that Stromwall had made statements about harming cats in the neighborhood. Stromwall allegedly stated he was putting out tainted food to poison them, including attempting to get them to eat rat poison that was mixed with cat food.
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On December 22, 2022, a search warrant was executed on Stromwall’s residence, located at 8465 SW 202nd Avenue, in Dunnellon. During the search, MCSO deputies located three containers of antifreeze (including a nearly empty container of antifreeze concentrate), multiple cans of tuna, and fish-flavored rat poison. Based on the entirety of the month-long investigation, Deputy Struble obtained a warrant for Stromwall’s arrest.
“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. 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.”
— Sheriff Woods
Stromwall was later located, placed under arrest, and transported to the Marion County Jail, where he remains in custody.