For several months, animal lovers in the south Fort Lauderdale-Dade communities of Palmetto Bay and Cutler Bay have become increasingly alarmed about the slaying of a number of cats in their communities. Each of the 19 cats tied to the animal abuse spree was a family pet, says Broward criminal attorney William Moore. Now, police have made an arrest in the case, although they warn that there may be additional arrests to follow as the investigation into the case continues.
Tyler Weinman, 18, is accused of mutilating the 19 cats. The teen travels frequently between his parents’ separate homes. His father, who is a dentist, lives in Palmetto Bay, while his mother nearby in Cutler Bay. Fort Lauderdale criminal attorney Moore says that charges Weinman is facing are serious: 19 charges of improperly disposing of animal remains, four counts of burglary, and 19 counts of felony animal cruelty. The animal cruelty charges are third degree felonies, punishable by up to five years of imprisonment on each count and carrying mandatory minimum sentencing, which includes fines of $5,000 and at least six months in jail for year charge. If convicted at a trial, Weinman would likely face more than nine years in prison and owe at least $95,000 in fines, says Fort Lauderdale criminal lawyer Moore.
Law enforcement officials began keeping an eye on Weinman several weeks ago, they said, after receiving information from members of the community and tracking his updates on social media websites like Facebook and MySpace. Weinman was reportedly a member of a Facebook group seeking to catch the cat killer. Many community members have expressed relief at the possibility that the person who has been mutilating and killing family pets is in police custody. One animal shelter volunteer was delighted that police have made an arrest, although she noted that “people aren’t letting their cats, or children go outside just yet.”
Fort Lauderdale-Dade Circuit Judge Mindy Glazer set Weinman’s bond at $249,500 at a hearing on Tuesday morning, expressing concern for Weinman’s “safety and the safety of the community.” He is being held in a county jail facility on suicide watch and will be detained for at least two days. Weinman is only 18 and the length of his criminal record is not clear because juvenile arrests and case dispositions are sealed in most cases. He was, however, arrested for possession of marijuana about two weeks prior to his arrest for the cat slayings.
Broward criminal lawyer William Moore has years of experience in criminal defense, including sex crimes and DUI. A felony or misdemeanor conviction of any type can have far-reaching consequences on your freedom, your employment, and your personal life. If you have been arrested in south Florida, contact William Moore, P.A., with offices in Fort Lauderdale-Dade, Broward, and Fort Lauderdale Counties.