PUNTA GORDA, Fla. – The 22-year-old Englewood man accused of the intentional burning of a domestic rabbit named Thumper was taken into custody Thursday, according to a news release from the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office. Manasseh Walker was located in the 300 block of East Grace Street in Punta Gorda, thanks to the joint efforts of the SCSO Fugitive Apprehension Unit, Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office and Punta Gorda Police Department.
He is currently being held in the Charlotte County Jail.
The capture came less than 24 hours after the SCSO put out word through the media that it was trying to locate Walker, who is charged with aggravated animal cruelty for the intentional burning of a domestic rabbit.
On June 14, SCSO issued a news release seeking information related to an injured domestic rabbit discovered about 2 p.m. June 12 in the 12000 block of Loranza Avenue in North Port, that investigators believe may have been lit of fire. Thanks to intense public interest and “shares” on social media, the owner came forward and disclosed details of the incident, according to the SCSO release.
According to witnesses, on June 12, Walker claimed that he had been bitten by “Thumper” and, a few moments later, was seen chasing the animal while it was on fire.
The rabbit was taken to a veterinarian in Venice where it was treated, and it is recovering.
Deputies have continued to investigate and are attempting to locate Walker. His current whereabouts are unknown, but deputies have reason to believe he may be hiding in the Punta Gorda/Charlotte County area.
The sheriff’s office is asking anyone with information regarding this incident to contact 941−861−9516 or submit an anonymous tip to Crime Stoppers by calling 941–366-TIPS, or online at www.sarasotacrimestoppers.com.
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