Hayyal Ighneim was arrested Saturday. He was arraigned in Chardon Municipal Court Monday and released on bond.
The FOX 8 I-Team tried to ask Ighneim about the case when he was released from the Geauga County jail. We asked him why he hit the cat. He refused to talk to us, got in the passenger side of a white car and left.
The Geauga County sheriff told us Ighneim was caught on video on Aug. 1, after he drove to a school in Chardon with his cat. Security video shows the defendant get out of the SUV and walk to the back of the vehicle. He opens the hatch. A few seconds later, the cat can be seen in front of the SUV. Ighneim runs over the cat, then drives in reverse, striking the cat again and then again, before he leaves.
“It’s horrible,” said Geauga County Sheriff Scott Hildenbrand. “I mean, it’s disturbing, especially since this was his own pet that he did this to.”
The sheriff said when they first learned about the incident, they did not know the suspect’s identity. Deputies had video of the vehicle and posted a picture on the department’s social media page. On Saturday, a deputy spotted the vehicle at a concert and the defendant was then arrested.
“He said he was having trouble with the cat urinating in the house and wanted to get rid of it,” the sheriff told the I-Team. “He said he was just going to let it out in the woods, but it ran under the car and he accidentally ran it over.”
The sheriff and prosecutor, however, said they believe the video shows what the defendant did was an intentional act, since he drove over the cat more than once.
Goddard’s Law is named after legendary FOX 8 weather forecaster Dick Goddard.
Ighneim is due back in court soon.