BUCKHANNON, W.Va. (WBOY) — A man accused of killing and skinning a cat in Upshur County was charged Sunday with animal cruelty, police say.

It started with a request for a welfare check where the caller said Bryan Schooley, 38, “had killed and skinned a cat the day prior,” according to a criminal complaint.

Bryan Schooley

Officers with the Buckhannon Police Department made contact with Schooley, and he “stated he strangled his pet cat,” officers said.

Schooley also stated he “skinned it to ‘try his hand at taxidermy’,” and he killed it because, “he thought it was sick due to it coughing and potentially had rabies,” according to the complaint.

When officers asked Schooley if he had taken the cat to a veterinarian, Schooley “stated he had not,” and that “he sat the cat in his lap then ‘strangled it to death’,” officers said.

Officers observed “several lacerations on [Schooley’s] hands” which Schooley stated were from “the cat scratching him while he was killing it,” according to the complaint.

When officers asked to see the cat’s remains, Schooley “was hesitant at first due to the scene being ‘pretty brutal’,” but then showed officers inside the residence and “did pull the fur of the cat from the freezer,” officers said.

Schooley has been charged with animal cruelty. He is being held in Tygart Valley Regional Jail.