Two teens accused of drowning kittens face criminal charges

Two 16-year-old boys face animal cruelty charges after a woman accused them of drowning a pair of 2-day-old kittens more than a week ago.

On Wednesday, Las Vegas police spokesman Jose Hernandez said one of the boys had been arrested, and the other was to surrender to juvenile authorities. A spokeswoman for the juvenile district attorney’s office would not confirm the boy’s arrival later Wednesday.

This is the first case in which the felony animal cruelty charge has been applied in Nevada under a new law enacted in 2011.

On June 16, Christine Ohm said a gray cat gave birth to two kittens in the backyard of her home on Painted Moon Street, near Cheyenne Avenue and Cimarron Road. Two days later, the cat and the kittens were gone. Later, while cleaning her pool, Ohm heard animal cries and boys’ laughter coming over the 10-foot fence that separates her yard from the backyard of her neighbor’s home on the 7900 block of Indian Cloud Avenue.

“I ran in the house, got the ladder, got up on top of the ladder and looked down,” Ohm said. “I saw they had drowned one kitten in a cup of water. They other was in the water and dead, but the boys were still holding it down.”

Ohm used her phone to take a photo from the fence and called the police.

Police are recommending two felony charges of cruelty to an animal against each teen, with gross misdemeanor counts of conspiracy. Cruelty to an animal can be prosecuted as a felony, even on the first offense because of a law championed last year by the Nevada Voters for Animals, an animal rights group.

Las Vegas spokesman Jace Radke said animal cruelty charges are handled on a case-by-case basis. He said animal control turns over investigations to the Metropolitan Police Department when felony charges might be appropriate.

Ohm hopes the teens are punished.

“This is a problem,” Ohm said. “This is where it starts. Kittens now. What next?”

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