Two teen girls in Maine pleaded not guilty to torturing an 8-week-old kitten, putting it inside a microwave and turning it on.
The girls from South Portland, both 15 when they were charged with felony animal cruelty in September, denied the charges Thursday.
The two girls were arrested after a video of the incident appeared on Twitter last year.
Portland Judge Keith Powers ordered both girls to undergo a psychological evaluation and released them into the their parents’ custody.
“Torturing an animal is a marker for some serious behavioral problems but we don’t know if these defendants fit that profile,” Cumberland County District Attorney Stephanie Anderson told the Portland Press Herald.
The charge filed against the girls says, “in a manner manifesting a depraved indifference to animal life or suffering, did intentionally, knowingly or recklessly cause extreme physical pain to an animal, or did physically torture an animal, namely operating a microwave with a kitten inside it.”
The girls said the cat was only in the microwave for a few seconds before they let it out.
Their attorney, Eric Cote, said the girls never meant to hurt the animal and the incident has left them traumatized.
“They were just doing something they thought was funny,” Cote said. “They wanted to make movies. They were playing ... I think they didn’t understand what took place here.”
The girls say they’ve received death threats and were harassed at school after the video gained national attention.
Both girls are scheduled to appear in court again June 2.
The kitten, renamed Miracle, survived the attack and was adopted by another family.
“The kitten certainly would have died, but for the aggressive and somewhat invasive treatment she received,” Leah Goodman, of Forest Avenue Veterinary Hospital, said in a statement.