A neighborhood friend of Sherry Scott holds the kitten they named 'Lucky,' in a recent handout photo.
LIBERTY, Missouri (AP) -- A man was arrested Tuesday for allegedly burning a kitten on a barbecue grill as several other people stood around and watched in amusement.
A witness pulled the scorched, 7-week-old tabby from the hot coals, but it was severely injured and had to be put to death, police said.
"They kept saying, `Meow, meow,' and they were poking at it with a stick," said Sherry Scott, who burned her hand grabbing the kitten.
Charles C. Benoit, 24, was charged with animal abuse, punishable by up to five years in prison and a $5,000 fine. He was jailed on $10,000 bail.
Jim Roberts, spokesman for the Clay County prosecutor's office, said he does not expect anyone else to be charged, because no witnesses could identify the others.
Scott said that on Friday night, she saw 10 or 12 people at the barbecue grill in the courtyard of the apartment complex where she lives. Scott said she asked what they were cooking, and they said it was a cat. She said the group taunted her, daring her to rescue the cat.
She said the group scattered when she threatened to call police. She said she pulled the kitten from where it had been shoved into the coals at the back of the grill. Its tail, whiskers, fur, eyes and throat were scorched.
"I called him Lucky because I thought I got him out of there just in time," she said.
Scott said she and other residents stayed up Friday night trying to nurse the kitten with an eye dropper of milk. But animal control officers decided that because of its respiratory injuries and inability to swallow food, it had to be destroyed.
"If you would have seen him, you would have cried," said Sheri Simpson, one of the residents who helped care for the kitten.