Lithia man arrested for animal cruelty after horse escapes, killed by car

Lithia man arrested, charged for animal cruelty after horse escapes, killed by car

HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla. -- A Hillsborough County man has been arrested and charged with animal cruelty after a horse escaped from the fencing around its property and was struck by a car early Sunday morning.

The driver struck the horse on County Rd. 672 in Lithia around 5:30 a.m. The driver had minor injuries and the horse was discovered dead on the road following the crash.

According to the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office, deputies recognized upon arrival at the scene that they had responded to the same location the day before. The property owners had been warned to fix the issue to make sure the horses were secure.

A second horse was taken by detectives with the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office Agricultural Crimes Unit of the Homeland Security Division. 

The property owner, 53-year-old Michael Kickliter, was arrested and charged with aggravated animal cruelty and sent to be booked at the Hillsborough County Jail.

Criminal charges have also been filed against the other property owner, who is the girlfriend of Kickliter.

An equine veterinarian will evaluate the horse that was taken from the property.

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