A 71-year-old Glendale man has been charged with beating and drowning three kittens in a neighborhood feud.
Paul Hartz, a resident in the 1300 block of Columbia Drive, is charged with three counts of felony cruelty to animals. Police on Wednesday said Hartz was on vacation and would be arrested when he returns.
The charges against Hartz stem from a neighborhood feud that came to a head last week when Hartz and two members of a neighboring family who owned the cats got into a fight, authorities said.
Accused of Drowning Kittens
According to police reports, Hartz found the 5-week-old kittens on his property on May 6, placed them in a plastic bag and attempted to drown them in a barrel.
Mike Shewey, 21, whose sister, Marci, owned the cats, rushed over to stop the drowning, police said. The brother told police that Hartz then beat the kittens, which were still in the bag, with a brick. Shewey and his sister fought with Hartz in an attempt to keep the kittens from being harmed, police reported.
Hartz later filed battery charges against the Sheweys, alleging that the brother hit him and the sister spit on him. Hartz told police the cats were a nuisance, that they frequently wandered onto his property, made noise and fought, officers said.
Police declined to prosecute the battery charge but during the investigation found the three kittens dead in a barrel of water.
'A Sadistic Act'
An arrest warrant was issued for Hartz last Thursday by Deputy Dist. Atty. Judson W. Morris, who called the drowning "a sadistic act." Morris said Hartz "tortured those cats and admitted doing it," referring to Hartz's account of the incident when he complained to police about the Sheweys.
Morris said about 18 cat owners called him to applaud his decision to prosecute Hartz.
The charges against Hartz carry a penalty of 16 months to three years in prison and a fine of up to $2,000, according to the district attorney's office.
Bail for Hartz was set at $5,000.
Mike Shewey said Tuesday that the feud between his family and Hartz has been going on for several months.
"There is no fence between our backyard, and he would set traps for wild animals and our cats would get caught in them," Shewey said.
The family has four cats and another litter of kittens.