A trial date has been set for a Middletown man facing a felony charge for allegedly hanging and beating a cat to death.
Andrew Tyler Chilton, 19, was arrested in August then indicted two months later for cruelty to companion animals, a fifth-degree felony. Today, Chilton appeared in Butler County Common Pleas Court where Judge Greg Howard sent a bench trial for Dec. 3.
Chilton is free from jail on bond.
The incident allegedly occurred on Aug. 20 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.”
The charge of cruelty to a companion animal had been a first-degree misdemeanor for years, with a maximum sentence of 180 days. But some charges, depending on the defendants prior record and the level of harm, can be now be elevated a felony that carries a sentence of up to 12 months in prison in some cases. The law changed in September 2016.