CENTRE COUNTY, Pa. (WTAJ) — Police said a man shot a kitten with a BB gun, shattering its right leg bone, because it was allegedly causing problems around his bird feeder.

State police at Rockview have charged 59-year-old Stephen Hass of Haines Township with one felony count of aggravated cruelty to animals and one minor count of cruelty to animals, according to the charges filed.

Around 1 p.m Nov. 12, 2020, police were called to the 5000 block of Penns Valley Road to investigate a report of animal cruelty, according to the criminal complaint. The caller said a kitten had been shot with a pellet gun, but she was unable to meet for an interview at the time.

A little over a week later, police said they interviewed with the woman who made the call, and she told them that approximately three weeks ago, Hass had come to her place of work complaining about cats being a problem. She said he threatened to shoot them if they kept causing issues with his bird feeders.

The woman told police that a week after Hass spoke with her, she found out that her neighbor’s kitten had been shot by a BB gun, and its leg had to be amputated. The day she called police, Nov. 12, she confronted Hass saying he was responsible and that the surgery cost the kitten’s owner $700.

According to the criminal complaint, Hass asked the woman how she knew he did it, and she brought up how he claimed he was going to shoot them not too long ago. He admitted he threatened to shoot them, but he said that it “didn’t mean he shot the kitten.”

On Nov. 29, police interviewed the owner of the kitten at his house. He said Hass confronted him, and he told him that he was sorry to hear what happened to the kitten and attempted to hand him an envelope.

Hass told him that he wanted him to know he wasn’t invovled, and he didn’t want it ruining his reputation. He admitted he does have pellet guns, but they’re in storage. He also said he wasn’t there at the time of the incident.

After eventually taking the envelop, the kitten’s owner said he found $700 in cash. The owner said Hass did in fact make comments in the past about cats around his bird feeder.

On Dec. 1, police interviewed the veterinarian that performed the amputation. He told police the x-rays showed that the kitten was shot by a BB gun, and the injury shattered the bones of its right leg.

Last week, March 4, police said that they interviewed Hass, and he admitted to shooting the kitten. He said it was perched on his fence post below the bird feeders. He also claims he was shooting to try to scare it off, and he didn’t think he actually hit the cat because it “ran off normally.”

Hass then proceeded to tell police that while he did it, he saw nothing wrong with it because he searched laws online about shooting stray cats.

His preliminary hearing is scheduled for March 17.