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Missouri father accused of torturing, killing daughter’s kitten

ST. CHARLES, Mo. -- A Missouri father has been charged with felony child abuse after he allegedly tortured and killed his daughter's kitten, according to the county prosecutor.

Levi Lyda, 33, admitted to being drunk and wanting to relieve his family of the burden of caring for the kitten, authorities said.

“It was filed as a misdemeanor on the front end,” St. Charles County prosecutor Tim Lohmar said. “We just refiled it as a felony because our evidence indicates Mr. Lyda tortured or mutilated the animal while it was still alive.”

Lyda is accused of beating his daughter’s kitten to death last month while alone at his ex-wife’s home.

His ex-wife found drops of blood in the house and then found the kitten lifeless in the backyard, police said.

Lyda told an investigator he’d been drinking heavily at the time -- a six-pack of beer and a half-bottle of vodka -- and that he might have killed the kitten but doesn’t remember doing it, police said.

After the family cat gave birth to the kitten, caring for the animals had become a burden for the family, Lohmar said.

Lyda allegedly told his wife “I got rid of the cat” just before she found the kitten’s body.

“It appears the animal had broken bones, had a broken leg. There are pretty clear indications of blunt force trauma to the head,” Lohmar said.

“Anytime you have animal or children or other sort of victims who don’t have a choice, it hits you in a different way. This is a terribly sad situation because it was so preventable.”

Lyda faces a maximum of two to four years in prison if convicted, Lohmar said. Cash-only bail was set at $50,000.