A man who strangled a cat pleaded no contest Monday to animal cruelty and was sentenced to three years probation and ordered to attend a yearlong live-in substance abuse and mental health program.

Sergei Andreevic Smirnoff, 23, was also barred from owning any pets for 10 years and ordered to attend 48 animal cruelty prevention classes. If he violates any terms of his probation, he could be sentenced to two years in prison, according to the District Attorney’s Office.

Smirnoff rescued the 3- to 5-year-old cat from a shelter and offered the feline to his girlfriend in a gesture of goodwill after a series of squabbles, police told the Daily Breeze. When she said she couldn’t care for the cat, he inadvertently killed the animal in a rage, the newspaper reported.

— City News Service

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