Riverside man charged for killing 4-month-old kitten

A Riverside man has attracted both criminal charges and media attention for the apparent drug-induced murder of his four-month-old kitten.

 Daniel Spielhagen

Daniel Spielhagen

Daniel Spielhagen, 19, has been charged with misdemeanor drug possession and animal abuse for the incident, which occurred in late July. As of press time, Spielhagen remains in custody, held on $1,500 bond. He has pleaded not guilty to the charges and will appear Tuesday, Aug. 21 before Platte County Circuit Court judge Dennis Eckold.

According to court documents, Riverside police received a call Thursday, July 19 from a concerned party stating Spielhagen had admitted to killing his cat. She reported he had killed family pets in the past and needed help. She was afraid he might attempt to hurt himself and offered to accompany police to check on Spielhagen.

When Spielhagen opened the door, he pushed the reporting party and police detained him, spotting an 18-inch marijuana plant in the living room. There were three marijuana pipes that smelled of burnt marijuana on the coffee table. Spielhagen admitted he had killed the cat, then called the reporting party, who helped him bury his pet.

At first Spielhagen said he had killed the cat after it scratched him and he “snapped.” Later, he said “he was upset because he could not get his hair to cooperate” and picked up the cat, squeezing it until it scratched him. He hit the kitten several times, grabbed it by the neck and threw it to the ground. When it died, he panicked and called the reporting party.

“Daniel denied ever killing any animals in the past,” the report states. “He said he tries to do the right thing but his anger gets the best of him. He said the more he tries to suppress his anger, the worse it gets.”