A Butler County grand jury will now consider the case of a Middletown man accused of hanging and beating a cat to death.
Andrew Tyler Chilton, 19, appeared Tuesday before Judge James Sherron in Middletown Municipal Court, where he waived his right to a preliminary hearing on the fifth-degree felony.
He remains in the Middletown City Jail in lieu of a $25,000 bond. Now that the case has been sent to grand jury, he will be transported to the Butler County Jail.
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.”
The charge of cruelty to a companion animal had been a first-degree misdemeanor for years, with a maximum sentence of 180 days. 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.