THOMASVILLE, N.C. -- A family is in mourning after the loss of their family pet that was physically abused by neighborhood children last week.
Kat Jenkins said her 3-month-old kitten named Heaven was beaten and held under water in a creek by children in her neighborhood.
"They chased my kitten down and started hitting her in the head with rocks. They then took her down here to the creek behind my house and held her under the water," said Kat Jenkins.
Due to her injuries Heaven had to be put down.
Jenkins says neighborhood children who saw the attack reported it to her and authorities.
Thomasville Police are looking into the events and are turning it over to the Juvenile Courts.
"These children that start out victimizing animals generally graduate -- unfortunately -- to worse," said Kim Alboum state director of the Humane Society.
Alboum says parents need to talk to their children and encourage them to always tell someone when they see violence.
"Violence is not acceptable and I think parents need to talk to children about it. If they see an animal or another child abused, they need to tell someone," said Alboum.
The Humane Society of the United States says it's well documented that childhood cruelty to animals is a sign of serious psychological distress and is often caused by a child either experiencing violence firsthand or witnessing it.
"I just don't understand how kids are capable of doing something like this," said Jenkins who has started a Facebook page "Justice4Heaven" to bring attention to the issue of childhood cruelty to animals.