A Florida nurse has been charged with three counts of felony animal cruelty and one count of depositing poison in a public area on accusations she killed her neighbors’ pets with poison-laced chicken on Aug. 16, 2023, according to reports.
The neighbors alleged to authorities that 51-year-old Tamesha Knighten had repeatedly threatened to kill their animals if the animals came into her yard. According to the neighbors, on the day of the alleged poisoning, Knighten also allegedly yelled at their children while they were outside playing. When their cat began acting strangely, Knighten allegedly told them the animal had probably just swallowed a frog, according to the neighbors’ account, says the sheriff’s office.
Two cats, Luna and Pancake, and a pregnant Chihuahua named Daisy were killed by a highly-concentrated amount of Phorate, a pesticide found in insecticides. Knighten laced chicken with the Phorate, which she allegedly described to authorities as her “special sauce.”
Daisy was pregnant with eight puppies, say authorities.
On Aug. 16, the neighbors’ cats died within hours of each other after both experiencing symptoms of choking, foaming at the mouth, significant physical pain and an inability to breathe. The family then noticed that Daisy was missing and when they found her she was deceased, as were the puppies in her womb.
During the investigation, authorities found a white Styrofoam bowl containing a white meat substance mixed with a dark material. They later allegedly found video of Knighten wearing a glove and holding a similar bowl with a white and brown substance inside it.
“In the video she’s also talking to a relative and pointing at the neighbor’s yard,” the statement said.
Samples of the substance, the animals’ tissue and ant bait that Knighten allegedly claimed to be using had to be sent to University of Florida and analyzed by the veterinary pathology department as well as labs at Texas A&M University and Michigan State University before it could be confirmed that the animals ingested Phorate. After this was confirmed, Knighten was arrested and charged.
“These people lost their beloved pets in a most horrific way, and she lost her freedom by going to jail,” said Sheriff Grady Judd. “It takes a cold-hearted person to poison and kill two cats and a pregnant dog — it’s hard to imagine how a person in the medical field could do such a thing.”