Tyler Weinman, Once Accused Cat Killer, Sues Miami-Dade County

Keep New Times Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Miami and help keep the future of New Times free.

Tyler Weinman, the Palmetto Bay man who was once accused of killing several pet cats, is now suing Miami-Dade County for negligence that led to his false arrest. The case was dropped in 2010 after an expert hired by the defense found that several of the carcasses of the cats had bites caused by a large animal.

"This young man was vilified in the media. It became a national and international subject. He became a pariah," Weinman's attorney, Ronald S. Guralnick, tells the Miami Herald. "My client should have never been charged in the first place."

The suit claims Weinman's arrest was based on a negligent investigation and built on circumstantial evidence. The case and Weinman's arrest made headlines across the nation.

Weinman was arrested in the spring of 2009, when the bodies of 19 cats were found in yards across Palmetto Bay and Culter Bay. An animal services investigator, who incidentally was being filmed by Animal Planet cameras for a potential reality show, decided the deaths were the work of a cat killer. An anonymous tip led to Weinman's arrest.

The circumstantial evidence seemed strong. The cats were all found in areas relatively close to the homes of Weinman's mother and father. A tracking device placed on Weinman's car showed he was close to the areas where the cats were found, but the defense team maintained that data was misrepresented in court. The string of mysterious feline deaths also seemed to stop after Weinman's arrest.

But the case began falling apart when no DNA evidence was found. The county dropped the case after the animal bite marks were found.

Also named in the lawsuit: Det. Dominick Columbro, former animal services director Sara Pizano, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, and the University of Florida, which employs forensic veterinarian Melinda D. Merck. Pizano personally examined the cats' remains and confirmed that their death was at the hands of a person. Merck, despite not inspecting the carcasses, confirmed Pizano's findings.

Follow Miami New Times on Facebook and Twitter @MiamiNewTimes.

Keep Miami New Times Free... Since we started Miami New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Miami, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Miami with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.


Join the New Times community and help support independent local journalism in Miami.


Join the New Times community and help support independent local journalism in Miami.