FREDERICK, Md. (FOX 5 DC) - A Frederick County man accused of sexually abusing a guinea pig in a Target parking lot is saying he's innocent, according to court documents.
Animal control officers say cases like the one against 33-year-old Scott Mackey could be difficult to prove, but investigators believe they have a significant amount of evidence to charge him with two felonies that, if convicted, could land him behind bars.
A witness in Frederick says they saw Mackey in a green Volkswagen Jetta physically assaulting a guinea pig.
The witness said Mackey struck the animal and sexually molested it.
Animal Control Sgt. David Luckenbaugh says that eye witness, who also recorded the incident on their cell phone, was key to animal control's month-long investigation.
On Dec. 2, Mackey told officers he had just purchased the guinea pig - named "Mr. Gravy" - from a nearby PetSmart.
He told investigators that he was trying to feed it a carrot in order to bond with the anima, but Luckenbaugh says their evidence suggests otherwise.
"We spoke with the eyewitness who we believe gave a very detailed and credible account of what occurred. Those statements were corroborated with cell phone video. When we left the scene the guinea pig was immediately transferred to an emergency vet here in Frederick. That vet examined the animal and confirmed there was trauma to the animal that would be consistent with what was reported," he said.
Meanwhile, the guinea pig has fully recovered, but investigators say this case must still be prosecuted.
"Not only should this be a punishment for an individual who commits an act but it also may also serve as a deterrent for people in the future that may do these types of things. These types of crimes can lead to other things so if something like this occurs we want to be on top of it, we want to investigate it thoroughly," Luckenbaugh said.
Mackey is due in court at the end of February.