It was last summer that the man sat outside a grocery store in Skellefteå. Next to him was a box of kittens that he was trying to sell. According to the county veterinarian, the kittens were only between 5-7 weeks old and too small to be separated from their mother.

"It's not allowed to sell animals in this way today," says the veterinarian who examined the kittens.

Charged with animal cruelty

Staff at the grocery store alerted the man and the kittens to the animal shelter, as well as to the police. Police took the kittens into custody. The man is now being prosecuted for animal cruelty.

According to the indictment, he treated the kittens badly, hit them in the head and threw them back into the box when they tried to crawl out.

The man denies the crime and says that he did not hurt the kittens.

"The kittens were about to jump out, I stopped them with my hand. Maybe that's why someone thought I had beaten them," he said in a police interview.

Experienced discomfort and pain

The vet has found that the kittens have experienced both discomfort and pain. The brutal treatment of the animals and separating them from their mothers far too early suggests, according to the veterinarian, that the man does not care about the animals' needs at all.

All four kittens had unkempt fur with dried faeces and urine. The kittens also had dried secretions in the corner of their eyes, which could be a sign of infection or a poor immune system.

The kittens had unkempt fur and secretions were discovered in the corners of the eyes and faeces around the genitals. Photo: District Veterinarians Piteå