Manatee deputy accused of abandoning 2 adopted cats

MANATEE COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) — A Manatee County Sheriff’s Office deputy has resigned after documents say he admitted to abandoning two pet cats.

Russell Jacobus resigned in September after he was charged with abandonment of animals.

Jacobus adopted two cats on Sept. 3, 2015 from the Manatee County Animal Services at 305 25th St. W. in Palmetto. According to a probable cause affidavit, he adopted the cats for himself and his two young daughters.

On the morning of Sept. 4, Jacobus found out that his oldest daughter had experienced an allergic reaction to the cats. She could not breathe through her nose and also developed a skin rash.

That afternoon, Jacobus took the cats to a remote area of Manatee County, south of Buckeye Road and west of Bud Roden Road and abandoned them, according to the probable cause affidavit.

GPS tracking data confirmed his presence at the locations.

The affidavit said that during an interview on Sept. 11, Jacobus admitted that he abandoned the cats due to the effect they were having on his daughter’s health.

“Jacobus abandoned the cats with disregard for their care, sustenance, protections and shelter. Jacobus abandoned the cats as the quickest way to remedy the effect they were having on his daughter’s health,” said the affidavit.

A Manatee County Sheriff’s Office spokesperson said that one of the cats was found, the other was not. The sheriff’s office learned about the incident after receiving information about the recovery of the cat and learned that a marked car was in the area.

Prosecution of the misdemeanor charge is being deferred and Jacobus is being considered for a pre-trial intervention program because he does not have a prior adult criminal record or a significant juvenile record, according to court records. If he successfully completes the program, the charge could be dropped.

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