A US woman has been accused of burning her roommate's pet ferret to death by throwing it into an oven and turning on the heat.

Police in New Hampshire say Ivana Clifford, 26, told officers she cooked the beloved animal – named "Angel" – because her roommate, Cara Murray, stole her clothes.

She also said because she was 32-weeks pregnant she didn't think a ferret should be in their Manchester apartment, police added.

Investigators say the incident happened in the early hours of Wednesday morning (8 November) when Murray and her boyfriend awoke to the sound of the smoke alarm and saw heavy smoke inside their apartment.

They opened the oven to find the dead ferret inside.

Firefighters called to the scene said the pet had sustained "distinct linear burn marks" that were consistent with the shape of the oven coil.

"How can someone be so cruel to put an animal in your oven, cooking it alive?" Murray tearfully told NBC 12 News.

She added: "To lose a ferret, it's like losing a kid or family. I just don't understand. I just can't believe she did that. We love our animals so much, and we're just devastated."

Murray disputed the reason Clifford gave for killing her two-year-old pet.

"The reason why she put our ferret in the oven is because Angel bit her, nipped her on the foot – just nipped her, didn't even draw blood – and that was it," she said.

Clifford has been charged with animal cruelty and has been held on a $10,000 bail.