GODFREY, Ill. - A kitten-killing grandmother is behind bars.
Investigators say the woman killed her granddaughter's cat and four kittens with a hammer to teach her grandchildren a lesson.
The animal abuse was discovered at the family's home in Godfrey, Illinois.
On Monday evening, the 13-year-old granddaughter opened the freezer, looking for a snack, and made a nauseating discovery. There was her beloved cat, dead inside the freezer. The girl texted a relative, who called police.
Madison County investigators arrived, and asked the girl what happened. Her grandma immediately piped in. Seventy-one year-old Josephine Bell said she killed the cat, and its four kittens, all because the kids wouldn't clean their rooms.
The 71-year-old is now charged with Aggravated Animal Cruelty, and could face 1 to 3 years in prison.
"Without a substantial criminal history, she likely could be looking at probation and fines for this case. But hopefully it brings about a change in demeanor, and this kind of behavior doesn't happen again for the benefit of these children, is what ultimately I think most of us would hope for," Captain Mike Dixon with the Madison County Sheriff's Department said.
Bell stated she killed the cats on Sunday, and threw the kittens in the garbage. They were never located by investigators.
It seems the well-being of the family pets was in question even before this cat-killing.
Last week, investigators say Animal Control took a dog from the home, and offered to take the other animals as well, but the family refused.