A Middletown man found guilty last month of felony animal cruelty for hanging and beating a cat to death has been sentenced to probation.
Andrew Tyler Chilton, 19, was arrested in August, then indicted on the fifth-degree felony charge. On Dec. 3, he was found guilty after a bench trial in Butler County Common Pleas Court.
Chilton was taken into custody and booked into the Butler County Jail, where he was housed until Wednesday’s sentencing, meaning he served 38 days behind bars.
Judge Greg Howard sentenced Chilton to five years probation and ordered him to served 100 hours of community service in an animal shelter and undergo a mental health assessment. The judge also denied a motion filed by Chilton’s attorney for a new trial raising venue questions about the crime.
The cat, Tinker, belonged to his former fiance, Victoria Charles, who had broken up with Chilton and moved to Kentucky.
Charles, who is pregnant and has one child with Chilton, said when she moved to Kentucky last summer she left Tinker and the mother cat with a family friend for safe keeping. She later saw pictures on a Google account she shares with Chilton of the kitten she believes to be Tinker hanging, bloody and dead, Charles said during trial testimony.
Corina Charles also testified Monday morning, telling the judge that when she received the photos she took them to police, but “they wouldn’t help me.” So she contacted the county dog warden’s office.
During an interrogation, Chilton told Butler County Sheriff’s Deputy detectives that he found a dead cat on the side of Charles Street and took a couple pictures of it.
“It’s not her cat,” Chilton told detectives.
After the detectives pointed out a cord around the cat’s neck to hang it, Chilton said he was just drunk and messing around with a dead cat he found. But when the detectives pointed out the trauma to the cat’s face in one of the photos, Chilton at first said he had no explanation.
Later during the interrogation, Chilton said the cat was one of his grandmother’s outdoor cats that he killed.
After hanging the kitten, Chilton said it wasn’t dead so he “probably” stomped the head of the cat or “hit it with something.”