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Animal Control: Man killed kitten for playing with Christmas tree ornaments

Becky Campbell • Dec 10, 2019 at 6:30 PM

Animal control authorities accused a Johnson City man of killing his kitten because it “messed with the Christmas tree.”

Aaron Rover, 23, 105 Sequoyah Drive, Apt. 16, was cited into Washington County General Sessions Court on one count of aggravated animal cruelty. He appeared in court Tuesday with his attorney, Mac Meade, for arraignment.

According to court records, Rover took a kitten to the Washington County/Johnson City Animal Shelter on Nov. 30 and claimed he’d found it injured on the side of the road. The shelter took the cat in and immediately sent it to Robinson Animal Hospital for treatment because the cat couldn’t even stand up.

As in most cases of an injured animal, the shelter put out a request on Facebook seeking donations for the animal’s medical care. Unfortunately, the kitten died within a few hours.

But shelter Director Tammy Davis said she received a phone call from a woman who said Rover lied about finding the kitten. The witness said the kitten belonged to Rover and he inflicted the injuries to the animal. When Animal Control Officer Nicole Stuwa interviewed Rover, he “confirmed that he had struck the cat and had done so before,” according to court records filed in the case.

A witness told Stuwa that Rover said he “whooped” the cat for playing with the Christmas tree ornaments.

Davis had the cat sent to the University of Tennessee Animal Hospital for a necropsy to determine the cause of death. A preliminary report said the cat’s cause of death was consistent with being struck.

Rover’s next court hearing was scheduled for Feb. 4, 2020.

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