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FORT MYERS BEACH, FL – Around 8 p.m. on Thursday, January 28, 2021, Lee County Sheriff’s Office communications received a 911 call from a man who witnessed an animal being set on fire. Deputies immediately responded to the 11800 Block of Isle of Palms Drive in Fort Myers Beach.
When they arrived, deputies encountered two subjects on the property along with a distressed opossum in a metal trap. The opossum was still alive but was suffering from significant burns. The animal was transported to a local area veterinary office for treatment and is currently stable. Deputies on scene located a long string tied to the metal trap that lead to a stair case at the rear of the house. At the end of the string, in plain view, deputies found a bottle of acetone and a grill lighter. The residence was secured, and a search warrant was completed.
“This intentional act of violence against an innocent animal is senseless and cruel,” stated Sheriff Carmine Marceno. “I am proud of my team’s hard work in saving the life of this animal and gathering the evidence that put this sick individual behind bars.”
Forensics processed the crime scene and pulled fingerprints and palm prints from the tin acetone can. The prints were examined by our latent fingerprints division, which yielded a match for one of the suspects on scene, Bryan Werner, 39. Werner was arrested for aggravated animal cruelty and has been booked into the Lee County Jail.