Sheriff's deputies arrest 2 for allegedly dumping cat in desert

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Matthew Williams and Virginia Bean By Jennifer Thomas Matthew Williams and Virginia Bean By Jennifer Thomas

PHOENIX -- Maricopa County sheriff's deputies have arrested two people accused of dumping a cat in the desert to fend for itself.

Deputies patrolling near Saguaro Lake saw a car stopped on the side of the road. The occupants took a cat from the car and released it into the wild, according to MCSO spokesman Deputy Joaquin Enriquez.

When deputies contacted the suspects, they reportedly admitted they no longer wished to keep the animal and conspired to release it into the desert.

"My policy is animal cruelty and neglect will not be tolerated and if you are caught abusing an animal you will go directly to jail," Sheriff Joe Arpaio said. "This cat will have a tough time in the elements after living in the home and now dealing with wild animals and desert heat that reaches into the triple digits."

Matthew Williams, 36, and Virginia Bean, 32, both of Apache Junction, were arrested Saturday and booked into the Fourth Avenue Jail for animal abuse-neglect.

Deputies found drug paraphernalia in the suspects' car and they also face charges for that.