A Harlan County man accused of tossing a cat into a wood-burning stove has been charged with torture of an animal.
The charge against Rex Hinton, 48, of Baxter, is a felony because the cat died, said Trooper Shane Jacobs, spokesman for Kentucky State Police post in Harlan.
Animal-cruelty allegations are usually handled with misdemeanor charges in cases where animals don't die.
Hinton's wife, Brenda, called state police on March 28 and said Hinton wanted to kill himself, according to a news release issued Friday.
Hinton and his wife got into an argument before police arrived. During the argument, Hinton grabbed the family cat, threw it into the wood-burning stove and slammed the door, according to the news release.
Brenda Hinton got the cat out of the fire, but it died, Jacobs said.
Brenda Hinton told police she didn't know why her husband threw their cat into the fire, but the investigating officer understood he may have been aggravated with the animal, Jacobs said.
An ambulance crew arrived before police and put Hinton in the ambulance. Hinton was treated at the hospital in Harlan but was later admitted to a psychiatric treatment unit in Hazard, according to the news release.
Trooper Jimmy Halcomb obtained an arrest warrant for Hinton, but police had to wait until Hinton was discharged Tuesday to serve the warrant.
Hinton was being held Friday at the Harlan County Detention Center in lieu of $5,000 bond.