NEW SMYRNA BEACH, Fla. - A Volusia County man was arrested Sunday night on a felony charge of animal cruelty after he was caught on video driving his truck at a dog and running it over, a news release said.
Robert Joseph Kayat, 29, was arrested after the video was posted and widely shared on social media, deputies said. Witness statements also connected Kayat to the incident, the release said.
The dog's owner told deputies she found out at about 7 p.m. Thursday that her dog, Thomas, had been found dead on the side of the road at the 4000 block of Treadway Road, west of New Smyrna Beach, deputies said.
The release said the dog’s owner reviewed a neighbor's security camera footage the next morning and saw a white pickup run over Thomas.
The video showed the truck swerve sharply at the dog before running over him, deputies said. The driver then got out, walked over to the dog, nudged him with his boot and then kicked him before getting back in his truck and driving away, deputies said.
A witness to the incident identified the driver as Kayat, who later contacted the sheriff's office to meet with a deputy and provide his account of the incident, deputies said.
According to the release, Kayat claimed he intentionally swerved at the dog to spook it and not to run it over.
The news release said Kayat "expressed remorse.”
Kayat was arrested on a third-degree felony charge of animal cruelty. He was taken to the Volusia County Branch Jail on $2,500 bail.
The dog did not survive.
Kayat posted bail Monday and was released from jail.
You may have seen a disturbing video of a vehicle running over a dog. We saw it & can confirm it happened in our area & the dog did not survive.— Volusia Co. Sheriff (@VolusiaSheriff) June 3, 2019
Deputies have ID'd the driver and are charging him with aggravated animal cruelty.
We'll update you as the arrest is processed. pic.twitter.com/sAMlvh736B
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