Nurse Arrested on Three Felony Counts After Horrific Deaths, Victims Foamed at the Mouth

Nurse Arrested on Three Felony Counts After Horrific Deaths, Victims Foamed at the Mouth

Law enforcement authorities in Florida have charged a licensed practical nurse with animal cruelty after she allegedly poisoned two cats and a pregnant dog that belonged to her next-door neighbors.

According to what the neighbors reportedly told investigators with the Polk County Sheriff’s Office, the suspect, on more than one occasion, allegedly threatened to poison the pets if they came into her yard, WTTV reported.

If the allegations end up being true, the suspect tragically made good on the threat.

During the incident, which occurred on Aug. 16, the two felines — named Luna and Pancake — died within a short time of each other.

According to WTVT, “The victims said that both cats had the same symptoms, which included choking, unable to breathe, foaming from the mouth, and in obvious significant pain.”

About four hours later, Daisy the Chihuahua passed away, along with eight puppies still in her womb, which makes the alleged animal cruelty perhaps even more abhorrent.

During a news conference following the arrest, Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd explained that Tamesha Knighten, 51, “put her ‘special seasoning’ on the chicken strips. They were in the bowl, and then she set them out, and that’s where Daisy, Pancake, and Luna consumed them and ultimately died of poisoning.”

In video footage obtained by police, Knighten was allegedly seen on her home cameras wearing a rubber glove and carrying a white Styrofoam bowl on the day in question.

A news release issued by Judd’s agency indicated that “The chemical analysis confirmed that the pets had ingested Phorate, a pesticide found in insecticides, which matched the sample from the laced canned chicken in the bowl, and doctors stated that Phorate would have caused the animals to suffer.”


Judd provide some advice for citizens in his jurisdiction in cases where cats or dogs might be allowed to run free and before a situation escalates into intentional harm to pets that are treasured like members of the family.

“If you’re having problems with neighbors and their animals, resolve it with a neighbor peacefully and appropriately and legally or contact my animal investigations unit. Let us help figure out a resolution with you. Do not ever poison innocent animals unless, of course, you want to go to jail as well.”

The Florida woman was taken into custody on Jan. 3 and faces three felony animal cruelty charges and one count of depositing poison in a public area.

Sheriff Judd explained that the investigation into the 2023 incident was protracted because three separate university labs were called upon to thoroughly examine the pets’ tissues and the so-called “special seasoning” to identify the substance involved.

“During the investigation, Knighten admitted to putting ant bait outside around her air conditioning unit, claiming it was to kill the ants that would get into her unit,” WESH noted.

Pathologists reportedly did not locate any ant bait in the samples.

“This suspect, despite all evidence to the contrary, repeatedly denied killing her neighbor’s pets, even telling our detectives that she’s a nurse and had too much to lose. Well guess what? These people lost their beloved pets in a most horrific way, and she lost her freedom by going to jail. It takes a cold-hearted person to poison and kill two cats and a pregnant dog — it’s hard to imagine how a person in the medical field could do such a thing,” the sheriff asserted, according to the news release.

Polk County jail records indicate that the suspect bonded out on Jan. 4.

A reminder that anyone charged with a crime is presumed innocent unless or until convicted in a court of law.

This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.

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