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(Photo provided by the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office)

APACHE JUNCTION -- Maricopa County Sheriff's deputies have arrested two suspects for taking a domesticated cat to the wilderness to be left to fend for itself, according to a press release.

Deputies were patrolling an area near Lake Saguaro when they observed a car stopped on the side of the road and the occupants took a cat from the car and released it into the wild. When deputies made contact with the suspects they in fact admitted they no longer wished to the keep the feline friend and conspired to release the animal in the hot 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," Maricopa County 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 and Virginia Bean, both of Apache Junction, were arrested for animal abuse-neglect. During the arrest, deputies also found drug paraphernalia located in the car and were also charged with that while being booked into the Fourth Avenue Jail.

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