**Warning: Some parts of the video below are disturbing to watch**
ASHTABULA, Ohio – Two people arrested after they were shown throwing cats back and forth in a video posted online have pleaded guilty to two counts each of animal cruelty. Kaine Fowler and Melissa Candela apologized for their actions before an Ashtabula municipal judge Wednesday.
“It was a mistake. I wasn't thinking at the moment,” Candela told the judge. “I really wish we could rerun time and not be able to do that, so we wouldn't be going through any of this.”
Fowler and Candela were babysitting a friend’s two children at an apartment on Glover Drive on February 16th when the incident took place. Fowler later posted the video on his Facebook page, showing the pair folding the cats into balls, then tossing them, at one point simultaneously. Fowler is also seen dropping one of the cats.
Outside the court room, Fowler and Candela expressed regret in an interview with Fox 8 News.
“I apologize for all this drama over something that seemed so small at the time,” Fowler said. “Now, I don’t think it is.”
The pair couldn’t explain why they threw the cats.
“I wasn't thinking about the cats, and at first it seemed like it was simple. It didn’t seem like the cats were harmed at all,” Candela said, adding that she’s received several death threats because of this.
Fowler admitted to Fox 8 that he was drunk and high at the time, even while babysitting. However, Ashtabula City Solicitor Michael Franklin said child endangering charges are unlikely because there was no direct threat to the children, and there’s no proof the children were in danger.
“I'd like to know if they're sincere in their regret or if they're just saying that to avoid punishment,” Franklin said. “The conduct is just so inane. I really don’t get it.”
The cats were not injured and have been placed in foster care. Several animal advocates were in court for the arraignment hearing.
“This affected me tremendously,” Marlene Murphy, of Ashtabula, said. “I was just totally heartbroken to see this, to see these poor cats being thrown back and forth like a football.”
Fowler and Candela face up to a $1,000 fine and 6 months in jail when they’re sentenced. Franklin said he’ll push for jail time and community service.