GREENE — A Greene man has been charged with aggravated animal cruelty after police say he used his martial arts skills to subdue and choke a pair of cats.

Michael Herrmann, 47, of South Mountain Road turned himself in at the Androscoggin County Jail in Auburn on Friday and was later bailed.

The charge against him is a felony.

Animal Control Officer Wendell Strout began investigating the case March 23 after being told the cats had been disposed of in a manner legally considered cruel.

Police say that after a neighbor had dropped the cats off at his house, Herrmann took the animals to a nearby snowmobile trail to euthanize them.

“Michael stated that with his knowledge of martial arts, he knew how to choke things out,” Strout wrote in a court affidavit.

Herrmann later led Strout to the dead cats and their carriers in the woods, according to the affidavit.

According to Maine law, a person is guilty of aggravated cruelty if he or she knowingly causes death or undue suffering in an act manifesting depraved indifference to animal life.

As part of his bail conditions, Herrmann is prohibited from having contact with animals of any kind.

According to the affidavit, Herrmann told police that he didn’t have time to take the cats to the Humane Society, “where he felt they would be killed, anyway.”

However, authorities described the choking death of the cats as needless and cruel.

“There were many other avenues available to him,” Strout said. “He could have brought them to the animal shelter. He could have called me, and I would have helped him.”

Michael Herrmann

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