MURRAY, Utah -- A Murray man is accused of torturing animals after a neighbor found kittens trapped and shoved in his trash can, according to police.
Stephen Lacy was arrested Saturday and charged with five counts of torture of a companion animal.
“I couldn’t believe it. I couldn’t believe it,” said Ray Knuteson, who lives next door to Lacy.
Knuteson said he could hear the sound of meowing for hours Saturday morning, but wasn’t sure where it was coming from. He eventually followed it to Lacy’s trash can, where he found two kittens stuck to a sticky rat trap.
“One of them face was stuck down to the pad. It couldn’t breathe,” said Knuteson. “It couldn’t even open its mouth. Its face was stuck down to the pad.”
Knuteson called Murray Police for help, and officers then discovered three other kittens stuck to the rat traps inside a carport on the property.
According to Murray police, Lacy admitted to setting the traps to catch feral cats in the neighborhood. However, on Monday, Lacy denied that to FOX13.
"I did not set the traps to catch kittens, " said Lacy.
He contends he left the traps in his carport to catch rodents he thought were getting inside and destroying property.
"I don't want to do anything to cats or dogs in the first place," Lacy said. "But if we've got mice or rats around we should be able to try to take care of them."
When he found the two kittens on Friday night, Lacy thought they were dead.
"They weren't making any noise when I put them in the garbage, or I wouldn't put them in the garbage," he said.
However, neighbors argue the kittens were clearly alive when they found them.
"It made me sick," Knuteson said.
All five kittens were taken to a nursery for care. They sustained some injuries and had residue from the sticky trap attached to them.