Tampa, Florida – A Florida sheriff’s deputy is facing a felony animal cruelty charge for killing his girlfriend’s cat, Axel. The Tampa Police Department identifies Eric Harris as the man who stomped his former girlfriend’s three-year-old cat to death in late August.
According to the authorities, Harris attacked the cat on August 21, after getting into an argument with his then-girlfriend of six months. The woman left the apartment and returned the next day, finding her two cats cowering in crates. After the heated argument, Harris’s girlfriend left the apartment but when she returned at around 7 pm the next night, she found both cats hiding in their crate. When she tried to take out her 3-year-old cat Axel, she found him with broken and bleeding toenails. A report by the police claimed Axel was acting weird and unable to walk.
Axel was rushed to a Sarasota veterinarian after his owner discovered broken, bloodied toenails and witnessed his inability to stand. At the veterinarian, the gravity of Axel’s injuries was apparent and the veterinarian recommended that he be transferred to an emergency animal hospital. But there was nothing that could save the cat, and he died the same day. Because of the severity of Axel’s injuries, the veterinarian contacted the authorities to report suspected abuse.
Detectives questioned Harris, but he denied any wrongdoing; claiming that Axel was “fine” when he was with him.
A necropsy performed on August 26 by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) revealed how much damage had been inflicted on Axel’s small body. The Tampa PD detailed the grim findings:
“Axel suffered severe hemorrhaging and bruising to internal organs, facial injuries, including a missing tooth, and markings were found on his body indicating that he had been stomped. His cause of death was ruled as blunt force trauma.”
Please add your name to the petition today. Eric Harris’ excuse for his brutal attack on Axel was anger because the cats got on the furniture and counters; that anger was taken out on Axel in the worst way possible. A grown man viciously stomped a small, fragile cat to death.
We the undersigned demand that Eric Harris be held responsible for fatally attacking a cat named Axel. We are petitioning for Harris to receive the maximum punishment allowable by law for his felony charge of Aggravated Cruelty to Animals. At sentencing, we hope to see Harris prohibited from owning or residing with animals in the future.
*The Pasco Sheriff’s Office has confirmed that Harris has been terminated; he was promptly released from jail after posting bond.
Note: Individuals are presumed innocent until they have been found guilty in a court of law. Animal Victory relies upon the authorities and the court system to determine guilt or innocence.
Update 11/28/2023: Disposition is scheduled for 11/30/2023. Pre-trial is scheduled on 1/16/2024. The Jury trial is scheduled on 1/23/2024 at 8:30 a.m. E.S.T. in Courtroom 14, 401 Jefferson St., Tampa, FL. 33602. Judge Robin F. Fusion is presiding.
Update 11/21/2023: Animal Victory sent the petition and updated signatures to the DA.
Update 11/14/2023: Animal Victory has learned that the disposition has been reset for 11/30/2023 at 1:30 pm. The Pre-trial and Jury trial dates remain the same.
Update 10/27/2023: Disposition is set for 11.07.2023 at 8:30 am, Pre-trial set for 01.16.2024 at 8:30 am, Jury Trial set for 01.24.2024 at 8:30 am, in the Hillsborough County Criminal Court, Courtroom 14.
Update 5/11/2023: Animal Victory has learned that the next scheduled court date is on 5/24/2023 at 8:30 am.
Update 4/3/2023: Animal Victory has learned that the defendant is due in court on 04/12/2023 at 8:30 am in room 14.
Update 1/28/2023: Animal Victory sent the petition to the judge.
Update 1/11/2023: The courts have scheduled a disposition hearing on 2/28/23 at 8:30 am with Judge Robin Fuson at the Hillsborough County Criminal Court Room 14, 401 N Jefferson St. Tampa FL, 33602 Harris
Update 12/2/2022: Animal Victory has learned that the next court date, titled ‘Disposition’, is set for 12/14/2022 at 8:30 a.m. in courtroom 14.
Update 9/19/2022: Arraignment scheduled for 10/04/2022 at 1:30 pm in courtroom 14. Animal Victory has sent 14,020 signatures along with our petition to State Attorney Lindsey Hodges.
Prior Signatures 17,263