A Russian policeman may spend five years in prison for shooting and killing a cat.

Alexei Berezin killed the cat after it darted in front of his car while he was driving. The incident happened in June.

According to a report by Ria Novosti, initial investigations by the Kirov Region branch of the Investigative Committee revealed 40-year-old Berezin managed to stop his car when the cat jumped in front of his vehicle. However, he then pulled out an air rifle and shot the cat dead in front of its female owner.

A report in Rossiiskaya Gazeta said Berezin also aimed the rifle at the owner but drove away without shooting. Upset, the cat's owner sought help from relatives and neighbours and tracked Berezin down.

Berezin was finally caught at his residence and the owner confronted the cat killer in his garage. He reportedly tried to settle the matter by paying 100,000 rubles (roughly £1,960).

The offer was refused. Berezin has been relieved of his position and faces a charge of hooliganism, punishable by a maximum of five years in prison. A criminal investigation is ongoing. Berezin claims he killed the cat "to make road traffic safer".

Animal Cruelty

In July, a 25-year-old American was arrested after he killed and cooked his family's six-month-old pit bull. He reportedly strangled the dog and sliced up the meat with a steak knife before boiling it all.

A report in New York Daily News suggests he intended to consume the meat and that he had earlier killed and eaten squirrels and rabbits. He claimed he saw nothing wrong in his actions.