PANAMA CITY BEACH - The Bay County Sheriff’s Office may have the break they’re looking for in the cat mutilation cases.
During the course of their investigation involving the possible mutilation of two cats in the Bay Point neighborhood, the Sheriff’s Office learned about an anonymous call to Bay County Animal Control, made in March, about Brian Rutherford.
According to the caller, Rutherford, who lives in Bay Point, trapped a cat in a small-animal cage and, in the front yard of his home, beat on the cage with a piece of wood and then sprayed the cat with a high pressure water hose. Animal Control spoke with Rutherford who admitted he trapped and sprayed the cat. But Animal Control never notified the Sheriff’s Office.
After learning about the March incident, the Sheriff’s Office obtained and served a search warrant on Rutherford’s home Tuesday. They found a small-animal trap in the house. Rutherford was arrested and charged with Animal Cruelty.
Wednesday afternoon, Rutherford made his first appearance in court. The judge agreed to a pretrial release, which means he was not required to post bond.
The Sheriff’s Office is investigating whether Rutherford is also connected to the two recent cases of cat mutilation.
The back half of Sandi Hasek’s cat, Skeeter, was found by a jogger Labor Day weekend. His head was found on Labor Day.
On September 1st, Bay Point Security found the back half of a cat lying in the middle of Wahoo Road, the same street Rutherford lives on. The front half was found Monday on Pompano Road.
The remains of the second cat have been sent to the University of Florida to determine how whether it was mutilated by a human or by another animal.
Anyone with any information on the mutilation of cats in Bay Point is asked to call the Bay County Sheriff’s Office or Crime Stoppers at 785-TIPS.