On July 30, authorities charged a Michigan man accused of throwing five kittens into a fire and killing them.
Richard Bancroft, from Harrison, Michigan, was arraigned on one count of animal cruelty, reports UpNorthLive.
On July 3, Bancroft had been house-sitting at the kittens’ owner’s home in Hayes Township for a few days, when the incident occurred, a neighbor said.
"My sister-in-law's dad has been staying with us," owner Lisa Connors told 9and10 News. "He had called my husband and told him there was an emergency at home. 'I need you to come home.'"
After the frantic phone call, Connors rushed home to find her kittens dead in a fire that blazed in her driveway and attempted to put the fire out.
"Unfortunately, the kittens were only about 6 weeks old,” she said. “There was no way they could have survived."
The kittens’ blind father, Lucky, was nowhere to be found.
"He was missing for about three weeks,” said the owner. “We searched. We put fliers. I even offered a reward."
But it was too late. The family pet, who Connors remembers as “an all-around good pet” who loved everybody indiscriminately, was already dead. He was found “with his neck snapped against the fence line,” she said.
Connors believes Bancroft killed the cats because of a disagreement with her husband, who was repairing Bancroft’s car.
"We don't get a lot of things like this," Undersheriff Dwayne Miedzianowski said. "We feel for the five kittens, of course, and the pet owner. It's just a very sad, unfortunate situation."
Bancroft, who is jailed pending a $25,000 bond, is not allowed to be around animals and will have to get rid of his cat, which he says he has had for more than 10 years, reports UpNorthLive.
Bancroft could face four years in prison, a $5,000 fine for killing an animal and a $2,500 fine for each additional animal, according to 9and10 News.
"Your pet loves you unconditionally,” Connors said. “No questions asked. You can get mad at your pet, you can scold them but your pet still loves you unconditionally and in two minutes, they have forgotten. They are back on your lap, loving you. I won't have that again.”