El Paso (TX) Firefighter Arrested in Poisoning Deaths of Cats and Dog

Daniel Borunda

El Paso Times


An El Paso firefighter was arrested in the poisoning deaths of five cats and a dog in an East Side neighborhood, police said.

Shawn Michael Hanke, 48, is accused of putting out plates of tainted cat food that killed the animals earlier this year in the Pico Norte area, police said.

Hanke was arrested on warrants of six counts of cruelty to animals causing a death when he surrendered Tuesday following an investigation by the El Paso Police Animal Cruelty Investigations Unit, police officials said.

On May 28, residents in the 2700 block of Fierro Drive called police to report a man placing suspicious plates of cat food in the neighborhood, police said.

“Days later, five cats and one dog became ill and died due to the tainted food,” a police news release stated.

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Animal cruelty detectives investigating the deaths determined Hanke had poisoned the animals, police said.

Animal cruelty causing death is a third-degree felony in Texas punishable by up to 10 years in prison and a $10,000 fine, police officials said.

Hanke had a total bond set at $15,000 but does not show up on an online jail log, indicating he might have posted bond without spending time in jail.

Daniel Borunda may be reached at 915-546-6102; dborunda@elpasotimes.com; @BorundaDaniel on Twitter.

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