• Salem man charged with punching, stabbing kitten to death

    By: Austin Bumpus

    Updated:

    SALEM, Mass. - A Salem man was charged after allegedly punching and stabbing a kitten to death before photographing it and tossing the kitten into a trash can. 

    Salem Police say 43-year-old Peter Rice pleaded not guilty to charges of animal cruelty, malicious injury to a domesticated animal and carrying a dangerous weapon after he was arrested Tuesday afternoon.

    A Longmeadow woman told Salem Police about text messages Rice had sent to the woman's boyfriend with an image of a kitten with a knife in its head.

    Police found Rice at the apartment on Cabot Street, and he repeatedly denied knowing about a cat.

    Inside the apartment, his girlfriend told officers she had been looking for the cat all morning, and a prosecutor said she had been cat sitting for a neighbor.

    Rice eventually told police he was playing a video game and the cat scratched his hand, according to a prosecutor. He then allegedly punched the cat, then stabbed it one or two times before leaving the knife in its head.

    He then allegedly sent a photo to a friend before disposing of the kitten in a trash barrel.

    A detective eventually found the kitten and knife in a trash can on Gardner Street, and police took a second knife, which Rice was allegedly carrying when he was arrested. Rice will be in Middleton jail until at least next Tuesday when he will have a dangerousness hearing.

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