Police: Suspect Swung Rabbit by the Ears, Set It on Fire

California Connection
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SANTA PAULA, Calif. (AP) — Authorities in Ventura County say a 29-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of animal cruelty after allegedly swinging a rabbit around by its ears then lighting it on fire.

Santa Paula police released this booking photo of Juan Lemus
Santa Paula police released this booking photo of Juan Lemus

Police in the city of Santa Paula say the suspect, Juan Lemus, told investigators Saturday that the rabbit was already dead when he found it and that he lit a piece of paper on fire, not the animal.

The Ventura County Star newspaper reports veterinary technicians at the Santa Paula Animal Rescue Center determined the rabbit died of blunt force trauma to the head.

In additional to felony animal cruelty, Lemus could also face charges including arson, possession of drug paraphernalia and being under the influence of methamphetamine.

It wasn’t immediately known if the Santa Paula resident has a lawyer.

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