A Chinese woman who beheaded a kitten and posted images online has provoked a wave of fury among thousands of web users.
Li Pingping, a former marketing consultant in Huizhou in the southern province of Guangdong, bought the kitten earlier this month and decapitated it in her bathroom last week, China Daily reported.
She then posted photos of the kitten's body and the severed head on Weibo, China's microblogging website, sparking widespread criticism.
"Brutally dismembering a poor kitten in your bathroom, then posting the photos online?" one Weibo user wrote, as quoted by the South China Morning Post. "The cruelty is just beyond imagination."
As the photos went viral, users commented that the woman was "insane" and "out of her mind".
Li deleted the posts but days later, she wrote an open letter apologising and claiming she had been intoxicated and had acted out of anger after suspecting her father had been involved in an extramarital affair.
Others have speculated that Li may have psychological problems and that her previous postings suggested she may have been contemplating suicide.
China does not have any laws protecting non-endangered animals. Instances of animal cruelty have become increasingly common, despite protests by animal rights activists.
Earlier this week, news broke of the sacking of an employee at a stray dog shelter in the eastern province of Hangzhou, after he brutally killed seven puppies. Images emerged of the man lifting a newborn puppy into the air, before throwing it onto the ground.
Last week, a British-born Beijing resident watched as a city management official and four others beat his dog to death in front of him. The Beijinger magazine reported that the man had been out walking when officials demanded to see registration papers for his pet.
After the man explained that he was still in the process of registering the animal, he was held back as the group beat his dog to death with sticks, before scooping its body into a bag.
According to NDTV, the Beijinger reported that the police stated: "Without the registration documents, there was no recourse for him."