ROGERSVILLE - Two 17-year-old Hawkins County boys have been cited into juvenile court on felony aggravated animal cruelty charges stemming from an incident that occurred last week in which a kitten was allegedly killed with fireworks.
The incident happened sometime late on Sunday, July 8, and the dead kitten was discovered by its owner, Dana Campbell, the following morning near her home on Okolona Road in the Carters Valley area north of Church Hill.
Sheriff Roger Christian said both boys were cited into juvenile court on one count each of aggravated animal cruelty, which is a Class E felony punishable by up to two years in prison. Their first court date is Monday.
Initially it was reported that the sheriff's department would be interviewing two adults and one juvenile regarding the incident. Upon investigation, however, it turned out that there were two juveniles and one adult interviewed, and Christian said the investigation revealed that the adult was not involved in the killing of the kitten.
Campbell told the Times-News last week that in early June someone abandoned three kittens near her home, and she'd adopted the kittens.
The evening of the incident Campbell said she and her husband had been boating on a pond near their home, and upon going home she bumped into three males near a shed where the kittens stayed.
Campbell said that after she went to bed the three males began shooting fireworks. The next morning when she went out to feed the kittens, one of them named Cameron was missing.
Campbell said she took a walk to the pond, and that's where she found Cameron dead.
Someone had lit multiple bottle rockets in the kitten's mouth, and then put the kitten out with a fire extinguisher.
Christian said the way in which the kitten was killed was disturbing.
"The animal was killed in a most inhumane method," Christian said. "There was no reason given for it (by the suspect). As a result of our investigation we have found that their conduct merited the charge."
Tennessee Code Annotated states: "A person commits aggravated animal cruelty when with aggravated cruelty and with no justifiable purpose the person intentionally kills or intentionally causes serious physical injury to a companion animal. Aggravated cruelty is defined as conduct carried out in a depraved or sadistic manner in which torture maims an animal, including failure to provide food or water."
Campbell is continuing to raise the other two kittens.