Kitten Drowning Charges Dismissed

6-15-05 - McKINNEY, Texas (AP) A North Texas grand jury has decided not to indict a man accused of dropping a box of four kittens into a creek, drowning them all.

The Collin County grand jury heard from 62-year-old Earl Rutledge of Trenton before dismissing animal cruelty charges against the man.

His wife, Betty Rutledge, says her husband thought the kittens had been abandoned by their mother and were already dead.

County spokeswoman Leigh Hornsby says any number of factors could have influenced the panel's decision -- from a lack of probable cause to a judgment that the case was not worth pursuing.

Rutledge was arrested May 17th. That was a week after a witness reported seeing him drop the box of kittens from the Pilot Grove Creek Bridge on Texas 121 in northeast Collin County.

The witness reported hearing the kittens cry as the box floated down the stream.