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Man pleads guilty to three counts of animal cruelty in kitten's burning

Saturday, December 22, 2012 - 6:38 am

A man has pleaded guilty in connection with burns to a kitten that was later adopted through a lottery.

Matthew Jerome, 22, of the 6000 block of Yellowstone Drive, pleaded guilty to two felony charges of cruelty to an animal, both D felonies and one Class A misdemeanor charge of cruelty to an animal Thursday in Allen Superior Court.

Jerome was accused of burning the cat's whiskers with a cigarette lighter and allegedly dropping the animal into a fire pit in his yard, according to Allen County court documents. A woman took the kitten, which had burns on its paws, tail and whiskers, to Fort Wayne Animal Care and Control. Jerome is charged with two felony counts of torturing or mutilating a vertebrate animal and a misdemeanor count of animal cruelty. A trial had been set for Jan. 15, but his next court date has been changed to Jan.14 for sentencing.

In an interview with police, Jerome said he may have "bumped" the kitten into a fire pit and walked away, the documents said. The cat belonged to a woman who said Jerome was burning photos and letters after an argument with her.

Animal Control had a lottery to adopt out the cat, named Sparkle, after its injuries had healed.