Police in Athens have charged 20-year-old Dejion Marquel Roberson with animal cruelty after several witnesses saw him carrying a cat by the neck and kicking it "like he was punting a football or kicking a soccer ball" according to the incident report.

On Christmas Eve, Roberson said the cat ran into his house and pounced on a small child.

Police asked to see the child in question and saw no marks or visible wounds.

A person in the home told police that Roberson carried the cat outside, but he never witnessed him kicking the animal.

One of the witnesses later checked on the cat, which died shortly after the incident.

Several days afterwards on December 29, officers tracked down Roberson, charging him with aggravated animal cruelty.