Office of Public Affairs & Media Relations
NSB-AREA MAN CHARGED WITH ANIMAL CRUELTY IN FATAL HIT-AND-RUN OF DOG
A Volusia County man was arrested Sunday night on a felony charge of animal cruelty after a video camera captured him driving his vehicle at a dog and running it over.
Robert Joseph Kayat, 29 (DOB 8/29/1989) was arrested after video evidence and witness statements connected him to the incident, with the video posted and widely shared on social media.
The dog's owner told deputies she learned around 7 p.m. Thursday that her dog, Thomas, had been found dead on the side of the road. The location was the area of the 4000 block of Treadway Road west of New Smyrna Beach. The next morning, she reviewed a neighbor's security camera footage and saw a white pickup run over Thomas. The video showed the truck swerve sharply at the dog before running over him. The driver then got out, walked over to the dog, nudged him with his boot and then kicked him before getting back in his truck and driving away.
A witness who drove up on the incident identified the driver as Kayat, who later contacted the Sheriff's Office to meet with a deputy and provide his account of the incident. Kayat claimed he intentionally swerved at the dog to spook it, not to run it over. He expressed remorse. Then he was arrested on the third-degree felony charge of animal cruelty and later taken to the Volusia County Branch Jail, where his bond was set at $2,500.
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