Danield J. Collins, 39, told his children during a visit to his home on Sunday that he wanted them to "learn how to kill" and gave his 11-year-old son a knife to do it, according to an affidavit filed in the case.
The boy tried to save the cat by hiding it under a sofa bed and putting ketchup on a knife when Collins went to the bathroom. But when the father realized the cat was not dead, he forced his daughter to hold the knife and then held her hand tightly as he drove the knife into the animal, Muncie police Detective Jami Brown said.
Police said Collins stabbed and strangled the cat himself, and told his son to throw the dead pet in the trash. Officers retrieved the carcass to be used as evidence.
The children told family members on Monday, the day after the alleged killing, according to the affidavit. The children told police their father was drunk when they arrived at his home and that he's a different person when he's drunk, it said. The siblings live with their grandparents.
Collins was being held in the Delaware County Jail on $40,000 bond. He's charged with one count each of animal cruelty and battery and two counts of neglect of a dependent. The battery charge alleges the girl was injured because Collins held her hand so hard that her hand ached.
The jail had no record of an attorney representing Collins and there were no published phone listings for him in Muncie.
Muncie police Detective Jami Brown said the case was particularly troubling because Collins involved his children in killing the cat, an 8-month-old tuxedo type-cat named Boots.
"I've been doing investigations for 10 years and this is really bothering me," the detective said.