SARASOTA COUNTY, Fla. – The Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office said a father and daughter face aggravated animal cruelty charges related to a viral video showing a raccoon being burned alive in a dumpster .
The video caused an uproar on social media in August, including a change.org petition that received more than 10,000 signatures.
Alicia Kincheloe, 30, and her father, Roddy Kincheloe, 63, were both arrested on Thursday. Online records showed Alicia is also accused of destroying evidence.
The sheriff’s office said the investigation into the incident was one of the “most extensive” ever conducted by its farm unit.
According to Sheriff Kurt Hoffman, authorities believe Roddy stabbed the raccoon with a pitchfork, and he and Alicia left him for dead in the dumpster while they went to lunch.
When they returned, the raccoon was still alive. Hoffman said they then put some type of flammable liquid in the raccoon’s dumpster and set it on fire.
Hoffman said there was no evidence in the video showing the raccoon making any aggressive or assertive movements.
Hoffman said it was “a cruel and inhumane thing to do”. He said both men invoked their rights when arrested and gave no reason.
“I guess it was just pure entertainment value based on the comment they were making by doing that to this animal, which makes it even more obnoxious and just sick,” Hoffman said.
In the video posted online by Alicia, authorities said Roddy was seen hosing down the dumpster, which is smoking and appears to have been set on fire.
In the video, Alicia can be heard saying, “We just toasted her (expletive), who’s hungry,” Hoffman said.
According to an arrest document, authorities became aware of the video on August 11. The next day, the deputies met Alicia at her home.
She admitted to posting the video and told deputies that when she and her father returned from lunch they saw the dumpster smoldering. She said they grabbed a gas can that she said was full of water and dumped it on the dumpster, but she said it started “to burst into flames.”
The sheriff’s office said Alicia told them she kept the water there in case her food truck’s radiator needed water. Alicia also told authorities that her father had, at some point, thrown a lit cigarette into the dumpster before leaving for lunch.
Hoffman said authorities tested the liquid inside the gas can and it was confirmed to be a flammable liquid and not water.
Hoffman said the evidence destruction charge against Alicia was related to her removing the dead raccoon from the dumpster. The sheriff’s office said surveillance video showed Alicia reaching for the dumpster with what appears to be a pitchfork which she used to pull out the raccoon’s body.
Video showed her walking away with the dead raccoon out of view of the camera, authorities said. Hoffman said the raccoon’s body has not been found.
On August 31, detectives spoke to a witness who said he saw the video and called Alicia about it, according to arrest documents. They then discussed it in person.
Documents show the witness told detectives Alicia admitted her father stabbed the raccoon and then poured gas on it and set it on fire while it was still alive. Later they used a hose to put out the fire and Alicia pulled the body out. According to documents, the witness said Alicia removed the dead raccoon in an effort to hide it from authorities.
Hoffman said the charge against Alicia and Roddy was a third degree felony. ABC Action News tried to contact the family and received no response.
“I look into her eyes and think of the pain she’s been through,” said Traci Lipton, a local animal activist.
Lipton said she was beside herself when she saw the video of the raccoon, which they have since named Rosie. Now she hopes for justice.
“It’s started, and we’re very happy about it,” Lipton said. “It’s not over yet.”