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Geauga County man faces felony animal cruelty charges for killing pet cat

Hayyal Ighneim is accused of 'purposefully' driving his vehicle over a cat, which was allowed to suffer until Ighneim allegedly drove over it several more times.

CHARDON, Ohio — A Chesterland man is facing felony animal cruelty charges after authorities say he ran over his cat multiple times, resulting in its death. 

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On Monday, a Geauga County grand jury indicted 51-year-old Hayyal Ighneim on a fifth-degree felony charge of prohibitions concerning companion animals. Ighneim will be arraigned on September 6 in Geauga County Common Pleas Court. 

Authorities say that on August 1, Ighneim "purposefully drove his vehicle over a companion animal, specifically a cat, causing serious physical harm to the cat." Video surveillance indicated that "the cat was allowed to suffer for a time until the accused drove his vehicle over the cat several more times, resulting in the death of the cat."

Two days later, the Geauga County Sheriff's Office posted on Facebook asking for the public's help in identifying a person wanted for questioning in an animal cruelty case. The post indicated that the person's vehicle was a jeep grand Cherokee with heavily tinted windows and a black strip on the hood. On August 5, the sheriff's office indicated that the "suspect has been apprehended."

Ighneim was initially charged in Chardon Municipal Court with cruelty to companion animals. He was released on his own recognizance, had a preliminary hearing, then saw his case bound over to Geauga County. 

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