A Long Beach man accused of killing four cats pleaded not guilty today to animal cruelty.
Steven Ullery, 23, is charged with four felony counts of animal cruelty.
Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Laura Laesecke granted a protective order preventing Ullery from owning or caring for any animals or being around cats that live at his residence, according to the District Attorney's Office.
The Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Los Angeles launched an investigation after Ullery and his wife allegedly brought the bodies of two cats they had adopted a month earlier back for a refund last July, according to the District Attorney's Office.
Ullery allegedly claimed that the cats, named Sylvester and Oliver, were “defective,” according to Ana Bustilloz of spcaLA.
Investigators learned that Ullery and his wife had taken three other dead cats -- including one who died from blunt force trauma and another who had been choked to death -- to the Uptown Animal Hospital last March and last May, according to the District Attorney's Office.
Ullery was arrested Jan. 23 by Long Beach police and released the next day on $60,000 bail. His wife is not charged.
Ullery is due back in
court March 10, when a date is scheduled to be set for a hearing to determine
if there is enough evidence to require him to stand trial.
If convicted as charged, he could face up to five years in county jail, according to the District Attorney's Office.
--City News Service