HOWELL -- Two New Jersey students are being charged with animal cruelty after they filmed themselves torturing a kitten and posted the video on YouTube, police said.
Howell police Capt. Donna Craton said the animal was forcefully thrown against a wall and a door several times, placed in a bag and swung around, choked and bitten.
Howell Police Juvenile Detective Eric Rice and Victor "Buddy" Amato, police chief for the Monmouth County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, investigated the report to authorities, which came from the parent of a child who became disturbed after seeing the video, Craton said.
The torture and the recording took place several months ago, when the kitten was about three months old, Craton said. Authorities viewed the video and secured a copy before it was taken down from YouTube, Craton said.
The video had received 318 hits in the three months it was posted, Craton said.
The girl who told her mother about the video said she had heard gossip in Howell Memorial Middle School about it.
After viewing the video, the girl told her mother she recognized the boy in the video, which was recorded on a cell phone camera, Craton said.
It appears in the video that the kitten was stomped on, but the boy only made it appear that way, she said.
The boy told police he was talked into torturing the animal by another juvenile, Craton said.
Authorities visited the boy's house Monday and found that the cat was still alive and appeared unharmed, Craton said. The cat, one of several pets in the house, was checked for injuries, Craton said.
The boy's family "was shocked and there is no history of the boy'' abusing animals, Craton said.
While investigators were at the house, the cat followed the boy around and did not show any fear of him, Craton said.
"We didn't expect to find this cat alive,'' Amato said.
"This cat acted like there was nothing wrong,'' Amato said he observed while at the boy's home. "I see this a lot. People who abuse their pets who want love and affection and think it is normal. It (the abuse) may have been a one-time incident. I am hoping it was but hopefully'' the intervention would "prevent him from doing other things.''
Amato said he is in the process of charging both juveniles with fourth-degree animal cruelty.
Amato said that when he visited the house, he felt there were enough adults at home to make sure the animals were safe. The other animals in the house - a cockatiel, a dog and three cats - appeared fine, Amato said.
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