EL PASO, Texas -- An El Paso firefighter has been arrested in the poisoning deaths of five cats and a dog, police announced Wednesday.
48-year-old Shawn Michael Hanke, a 16-year fire department veteran with the rank of lieutenant, turned himself on Tuesday after an arrest warrant was issued charging him with six felony counts of animal cruelty resulting in death.
Investigators said residents in the 2700 block of Fierro in east El Paso observed Hanke feeding the animals what turned out to be tainted food; some of those residents told ABC-7 they were shocked to find out that he was a firefighter.
Hanke was booked into the downtown jail on $15,000 bond. If convicted, authorities said he could be sentenced to ten years in prison and fined $10,000.
In a statement, Fire Chief Mario D'Agostino said: "The City of El Paso and Fire Department do not condone this type of behavior and take this allegation seriously."
D'Agostino indicated that Hanke was placed on administrative leave amid the allegations.
This isn't the first time Hanke has been has found himself accused of criminal activity. In 2006, he was arrested for family violence.