A male suspect has been charged with animal abuse after he allegedly shot a kitten in the leg.

The incident was reported to the Genesee County Sheriff's Office on 26 September. County Sheriff Robert Pickell, who posted the ordeal on his official Facebook page on Tuesday (3 October), called this case "incredibly disturbing and heartbreaking".

Pickell said that the guard found the kitten 'Ratchet' sitting in the front seat of a car that he wanted to drive around the yard.

The guard, who could not chase the animal away after throwing bottles at it, shot at it twice with his 9mm Glock pistol.

It is believed that the guard's intention was to shoot Ratchet in the leg, which he did.

After shooting, the guard went on his patrol without helping the kitten.

The Genesee County Animal Control and the veterinarian treating Ratchet reported that the kitten's injuries required amputation of one of its front legs, NBC 25 News reported.

The guard has been charged with one count of animal killing or torturing, a felony with a maximum punishment of four years. He has been released on a $10,000 (£7,538) personal recognizance bond.

Neither the suspect's identity nor the name of the salvage yard, where the crime took place, has been released.

Pickell said he wants tougher laws against animal abuse, but says that the process is slow.

"The kitten in this case was not only defenseless, but had been abandoned as well. While it makes the situation even more senseless, no animal should have to endure the pain this kitten went through. We must fundamentally change the way we view these cases in Michigan, and our entire country. It is time to treat animal abuse cases with the seriousness response they demand," the sheriff said in his post.