Bond was set at $25,000 this morning for a Middletown man charged with a fifth-degree felony after allegedly hanging and beating a cat to death.
Andrew Tyler Chilton, 19, appeared in Middletown Municipal Court before visiting Judge Thomas Hanna on a charge of cruelty to a companion animal.
Chilton will have his preliminary hearing at 2:30 p.m. Sept. 4, the judge said.
The incident allegedly occurred about three weeks ago when Chilton hung a kitten in the basement of a relative’s house on Oberon Drive and beat it to death with rocks and bricks, according to Butler County Dog Warden Supervisor Kurt Merbs.
The kitten, a calico named Tinker, belonged to Chilton’s girlfriend, according to investigators. Merbs said Chilton uploaded pictures of the beating online where his girlfriend could find them. She contacted the dog warden’s office.
“This is one of the most heinous acts of cruelty I have seen in this county,” Butler County Sheriff Richard Jones said. “I’m proud of the deputy dog wardens for their diligent work and getting this guy locked up. Obviously he has some serious issues if he feels he has to harm an innocent animal.”
Robin Rook, a board member for Joseph’s Legacy, an animal rights group, attended today’s hearing and said she was “horrified” by Chilton’s alleged actions.
Rook, contacted by the family of the cat, said she talked to the Butler County Dog Warden about the alleged abuse.
“I hope he gets help,” Rook said after court, noting she got “really nauseous” when she saw Chilton standing before the judge.
She said she hopes Chilton is “held accountable for his actions.”
The charge of cruelty to a companion animal had been a first-degree misdemeanor for years, with a maximum sentence of 180 days in jail. Now classified as a felony, the charge carries a sentence of up to 12 months in prison in some cases. The law changed in September 2016.
This article contains previous reporting by staff writer Lauren Pack.