SARASOTA COUNTY, Fla. — The Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office said a father and daughter both face aggravated animal cruelty charges related to a viral video that showed a raccoon being burned alive in a dumpster.
The video led to an outcry 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 that Alicia is also charged with destroying evidence.
The sheriff’s office said the investigation into the incident was one of the “most extensive” ever conducted by its agricultural unit.
According to Sheriff Kurt Hoffman, authorities believe Roddy stabbed the raccoon with a pitchfork, and he and Alicia left it 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 dumpster on the raccoon and lit it on fire.
Hoffman said there was no evidence in the video that showed the raccoon making aggressive or assertive movements.
Hoffman said it was a “cruel, inhumane thing to do.” He said the pair both invoked their rights when arrested and didn’t provide a motive.
“I would speculate that it was just pure entertainment value based on the commentary that they were making doing this to this animal, which makes it even more heinous and just sick,” Hoffman said.
In the video posted online by Alicia, authorities said Roddy is seen hosing down the dumpster, which is smoking and appeared to have been set ablaze.
In the video, Alicia can be heard saying, “We just toasted his (expletive), who’s hungry,” Hoffman said.
According to an arrest document, authorities became aware of the video on August 11. The next day, deputies met with Alicia at her home.
She admitted to posting the video and told deputies when she and her father returned from lunch, they saw the dumpster smoldering. She said they retrieved a gas can which she claimed was full of water and poured it on the dumpster, but she said it began to “flare up.”
The sheriff’s office said Alicia told them she kept the water in that spot in case the radiator on her food truck needed water. Alicia also told authorities that her father had, at one point, thrown a lit cigarette into the dumpster before they left for lunch.
Hoffman said authorities tested the liquid inside the gas can, and it was confirmed to be a flammable liquid, not water.
Hoffman said the charge of destroying evidence against Alicia is related to her removing the dead raccoon from the dumpster. The sheriff’s office said surveillance video showed Alicia reaching into the dumpster with what appears to be a pitchfork which she used to remove the raccoon’s body.
The video showed her walking away with the dead raccoon out of the camera’s view, according to authorities. Hoffman said the raccoon’s body had not been found.
On August 31, detectives spoke with a witness who said she saw the video and called Alicia about it, according to arrest documents. They later discussed it in person.
Documents show that the witness told detectives that Alicia admitted that her father stabbed the raccoon and that she later poured gas on it and he set it on fire while it was still alive. They later used a hose to put the fire out, and Alicia removed the body. 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 is a third-degree felony. ABC Action News tried reaching out to the family and have not heard back.
“I look in her eyes, and I think about the suffering that she went through,” said Traci Lipton, a local animal activist.
Lipton said she was beside herself when she saw the video of the raccoon, which they’ve since named Rosie. Now she’s hoping for justice to be served.
“It’s started, and we’re very happy about that,” said Lipton. “It’s not over yet.”