A Florida man was arrested Wednesday on animal cruelty charges after he put live animals in a trash compactor and turned the device on, according to local authorities.
Phu Trieu Tran, a 45-year-old resident of Fernandina Beach, Florida, is being held at the Nassau County Jail on four counts of felony cruelty to animals. Tran was booked Wednesday afternoon, according to jail records.
Deputies were called to Tran’s apartment complex at 11 a.m. after neighbors reported that a resident had put cages containing a handful of animals into the trash compactor — including a guinea pig, four birds and two rabbits, the Florida Times-Union reports.
Then Tran tried to crush the animals in the machine, neighbors told police.
But before the contents were fully compacted, the neighbor who called police opened the compactor, First Coast News reports. That quick thinking saved some, but not all, of the animals.
“It’s just horrific,” Ashley Reeves, a neighbor at Tran’s apartment complex, told News4Jax. “It’s very disturbing to think someone like that would be in our community.”
The animals that lived — two rabbits and a bird — were taken to the Nassau County Animal Services office, the TV station reports. But three birds and a guinea pig were dead by the time authorities arrived.
The apparent reason for putting animals in the trash compactor? A letter had been sent to Tran recently telling him that he wasn’t allowed to have animals in his home, authorities told CBS 47. Tran faced an $800 fine for housing the animals in his apartment for more than two days.
Authorities found Tran at a nearby shopping center following the incident and arrested him, the Times-Union reports.
Tran is being held without bail, jail records said.