CALIFORNIA -- A man was arrested Saturday on suspicion of animal cruelty, among other offenses, after an incident with a rabbit in Santa Paula, authorities said.
Officers were called just after 7:50 a.m. to the 200 block of March Street on a report of a man swinging a rabbit around by its ears then lighting it on fire, police said. The man then left the area on a bicycle, authorities said.
A suspect was found in the 300 block of South Steckel Drive, police said. When questioned, he told officers the rabbit was already dead when he found it and he lit a piece of paper on fire, not the rabbit, police said.
The rabbit's body was found in a dirt lot next to a smoldering pile of paper, authorities said. Veterinary technicians at the Santa Paula Animal Rescue Center determined the rabbit died of blunt force trauma to the head, police said.
The man, later identified as Juan Lemus, 29, of Santa Paula, was arrested on suspicion of felony arson, felony cruelty to an animal and felony burglary, authorities said. He also was charged with possession of drug paraphernalia and being under the influence of methamphetamine, police said.
Anyone with information regarding a missing rabbit should call Sgt. Cody Madison at 525-4474 ext. 220.
(VCStar.com - March 26, 2016)