Lithia man arrested for animal cruelty after car kills his loose horse

Published Nov. 26, 2017

A Lithia man was arrested Sunday on an animal cruelty charge when his loose horse was killed as it ran into a roadway.

The Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office responded to the crash about 5:30 a.m. Sunday at 17532 County Road 672 in Lithia and found a driver had struck a horse that ran in front of his car.

The vehicle was heavily damaged. The driver, who was not identified, was not injured and declined medical attention. The horse died in the road.

A day earlier, deputies were on the scene because the same horse was running loose. It was owned by James Kickliter, 53, of Lithia. Deputies warned Kickliter and fellow property owner Hazel Soape, 49, that they needed to properly secure their two horses by keeping fencing and gates repaired or they would be subject to criminal or civil action.

On Sunday, Kickliter and Soape told deputies they had not had enough time to deal with the fencing and gate issues.

The sheriff's Agricultural Crimes Unit of the Homeland Security Division deemed the second horse could not be safely secured so it was taken into protective custody and Kickliter was arrested.